Navy corpsman from Springs had multiple deployments

August 20, 2012

A Navy corpsman from Colorado Springs died Friday in Afghanistan when an Afghan policeman turned his newly issued gun on the troops he was supposed to work alongside, the sailor’s brother said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Darrel L. Enos, a 36-year-old hospital corpsman, was one of two Americans killed during the “green-on-blue attack,” said Enos’ twin brother, Dale Enos. He said the military officer assigned to his family relayed details of the incident.

Enos’ death, along with another “green-on-blue” attack Sunday, brought the number of U.S. troops killed in the past two weeks to 10 — an unprecedented spike in insider attacks to hit American forces.

This year, 32 such attacks have hit coalition forces, up from 21 for all of 2011, according to NATO.

In Friday’s attack, an Afghan policeman on the force for five days sprayed bullets from the AK-47 issued to him by American forces, the Associated Press reported.

Staff Sgt. Gregory T. Copes, 36, of Lynch Station, Va., also died. They were assigned to the 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“He was a good doc,” Dale Enos said of his brother. “He saved a lot of lives when he was over there. … I’m going to miss him. I already do.”

A Mitchell High School graduate, Darrel Enos grew up near Palmer Park and Powers boulevards long before a Wal-Mart sprouted near the intersection. The empty fields and Sand Creek provided the perfect playground for the two boys, the youngest of nine children.

They rode bicycles and fiddled in the dirt. One day, Darrel Enos returned home with a paper bag of baby rattlesnakes, giddy at his discovery.

His mother wasn’t amused.

“She kind of freaked out a little bit,” Dale Enos said.

He bucked family tradition and joined the Navy — for what seemed like no other reason than “everybody else was in the Army,” Dale Enos said. Dale, two older brothers and the boys’ grandfather all became soldiers. Darrel Enos found a calling serving as a medic for Marines, his brother said.

He had deployed multiple times to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. His list of decorations includes the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with two Strike Flights.

In July 2007, he moved to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

When not deployed, he nurtured a growing family with his wife, Andrea, in their North Carolina house. They each had two children from previous marriages and had two more together.

Theirs was a crowded house, complete with a pet snake named “Snickers.”

Plans were in the works for when Darrel returned in a week or two from Afghanistan, Dale Enos said. Now he’ll plan a funeral, which will likely happen in Colorado Springs sometime after a memorial service Friday in North Carolina.

The way Darrel Enos died — a “green-on-blue” casualty — mattered little to Dale.

“It’s not different either way; I lost my brother still,” Dale Enos said. “It angers me more to know that with the insider thing. They’re trying to help these people.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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