Posts Tagged ‘2007 Baghdad’

Dad and Art …. I miss you both so much. Life is not the same but I know deep down that we will be together again. Family is FOREVER! Dad, I know Memorial Day was your favorite holiday and in 2004 it was also the day you decided to go back to heaven. Tell Art I miss him and that I am sorry for how things ended for him. I would do anything to change it if I could. I know you both are in good company with the many heroes from our country through the ages. The rest of us here are doing our best to carry on and to make you both proud. You and Art are always in our prayers.

As for my other brave brothers who died in combat, thanks for your service and sacrifice to keep us all free. I pray our country will remain free and that your sacrifice was not in vain. God Bless America.

Art on Aloha Friday in Baghdad

Dad with some of his grandchildren in 1986.

January 23, 2007 brothers in Arms who gave all


I have given many lectures across the United States on the events of my near-death accident. Everyone seemed so interested and wanted to know more. Many would come to me and ask if I was writing a book. I had kept a daily journal for many years on all the things I had done and really only meant my writings to be for my family. As time went on and I experienced more life-changing events, I decided to share some of these stories by publishing this book.

One of these stories is particularly difficult for me. The events of January 23, 2007, with the deaths of five of my brothers in arms, one being my sibling, made me look harder at my life. That day wasn’t just about the five who lost their lives. It was a day that affected many who were involved in many different aspects of that day. This was a very hard day for many brave men who survived but have the horrible memories of losing their close friends. Survivor’s guilt is a terrible thing. Unless you have experienced it, you can’t understand the true extent of how it can affect you. I hope this book will help those who still suffer from it.

I have spoken with many of the brave men who were there that fateful day and many of them feel responsible in some way for what happened. They are all going through the ‘what-ifs’. What if they had done this, or what if they had done that? What if they hadn’t run out of ammo? To all of these brave men I would say, “There is nothing you could have done differently that would have made a difference. It was no one’s fault. You all fought hard, brave and without hesitation. It is an honor for me to have worked with all of you. Remember, God is in control, not us.”

You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard is a motto after which I have patterned my life. This is my story, growing up in conditions of extreme poverty in a small town on the outskirts of Sacramento, California called Rio Linda, and the many adventures and experiences I had after leaving home to serve my country in the United States Army.

Even after all the negative comments I received in school, mostly based on my minority background, who would have ever thought this young boy from Rio Linda would have grown up to meet with and brief a King, Ambassadors, Prime Ministers, Generals, and the President of the United States not to mention the many diplomats and VIPs across the globe. In my youth I made a promise to myself that I would show everyone that they were wrong about my family and me.

You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard to me means you must never give up no matter how difficult your circumstances may be. As you read this true-life story you will see how this motto has kept me from giving up when hard times have seemed unbearable. From those early days in school when I was told by adults, who I was supposed to look up to, that I would probably flip burgers the rest of my life, to the time I spent many months in the hospital recovering from a helicopter crash that killed my best friend, and doctors telling me that my flying career had come to an end. I was also told my chances of walking normally again were not looking real good, and if I did it would not be without some kind of walking device. In reading this story, you will see the many opportunities I had to live by my motto.

I hope you will enjoy reading this book and when life seems unbearable, I hope it will inspire you in some way to apply my favorite motto, “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard,” which has carried me through some of the most difficult times in my life.

This book is based on my memories and the daily journals I kept over the years. There is no intention to embellish anything to make the story sound better. All the events and information about people and organizations mentioned by name in this book are not classified. This information can be found readily on the Internet. I have focused on the experiences in my life and not on the tactical procedures of the military or organizations I worked for. Conversations with certain people may not have taken place at the time or places mentioned in the book but did take place and were inserted to keep the storyline flowing. This is only a fraction of the many stories my family has heard me tell over the years. It is a true story of my life.

Dan Laguna

You Have to Live Hard To Be Hard is the true story of my life. It is focused mostly on two devastating and life changing events in my life: my helicopter accident in July 1994 and the shoot down and death of my brother Art Laguna and 4 other good men that day. I spent 30 years in the U.S. Army, most of it in Special Operations. After Retiring in 2001 I moved to Utah and flew EMS for two hospitals. In 2004 I decided to go to work as a Contractor for a Private Security Company providing security for U.S. diplomats. It was a rewarding job. I love my country and my family. I have been very blessed to have a wonderful family and friends who help me through such hard times. I hope that after reading my book, you will see that we all have hard times in our lives and that we can get through them with the help of family, friends and God.

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