Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 8, 2008
Married, 1 child
Hometown: San Diego
High School: Serra High (San Diego)
As a sergeant, he led from the front and "did a lot for his soldiers," said Capt. Roman Izzo, who served with Vaughn in Iraq. "He was a tanker, one of the best tank gunners in the company."
On April 7, Vaughn, 22, was killed during a fight in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad when his unit came under attack from a militia force using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
"The guys all respected him, and he taught the newer soldiers a lot," Izzo said. "He had been a sergeant maybe eight or nine months when he was shot, and in that time had grown into a fantastic leader."
At a memorial service in Iraq, Spc. Joel Geesaman said of Vaughn: "You could come to him about anything, at any time. He was always ready to give you advice. He never expected you to do anything he wouldn't do himself, and proved it on many occasions."
Vaughn's family has a tradition of military service, and throughout his high school years he had talked of joining the Army.
In March 2003, one of his best friends, a fellow wrestler at Serra High, Marine Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker, 21, was killed in an ambush near Nasiriya, south of Baghdad, during the U.S. assault to topple the regime in Baghdad.
Out of respect for his friend, Vaughn got a memorial tattoo with Rosacker's name and the date of his death. "That was Ricky," Stone said, "very close to his buddies."
Vaughn is survived by his parents, James and Jennine Vaughn of San Diego County; a brother, Clifford; and grandparents Connie Lee Zude, Wil Zude and Nana-Therese Morin, all of Tucson. Vaughn's father is retired from the Navy.
In an e-mail from Iraq, Izzo said Vaughn was known as "a cheerful guy, almost always smiling and a lot of fun after work."
In the weeks before his death, Vaughn had an additional reason for happiness, Izzo said: "He found out he was going to be a father."
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Sergeant Richard A. Vaughn here, don't miss the Military Times entry. Visit a memorial page and find more on a FaceBook profile honoring Sergeant Vaughn.
Randal Kent Rosacker