is survived by his wife, Geraldine and his daughter, Sommer of Clarksville, Tenn. His parents, Abdel-Rahman and Amal Ali of
Va, One sister, Rabah, a special education teacher in Fairfax County, and
sister, Lubna, attends Marymount University.
Special Forces Tab
* Parachutists Badge
* Meritorious Service
* Iraq Campaign Medal
* Combat Infantryman
National Defense Service
Global War on Terrorism Service
NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral Two
Staff Sgt. Ayman A. Taha was born on July 2, 1974, in Sudan.
He was a trained Special Forces Engineer noncommissioned officer assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group in Fort Campbell, Ky.
He died in an explosion Dec. 30, 2005, while preparing to dispose of enemy munitions discovered near Balad, Iraq, during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A resident of Clarksville, Tenn., Taha was a native of Sudan.
He entered the Army in August 2002 under the 18X program. This program allows selected individuals to enlist directly for Special Forces Training as a result of preexisting unique skills.
He was an Arabic speaker.
He began his Army career by completing basic Infantry training and Airborne School, both at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 2003, Taha began training at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he completed the Special Forces Engineer Sergeantís Course, the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape School, the Primary Leadership Development Course and the Basic Non Commissioned Officers Course.
He was later assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky., in January of 2005. He served as a member of a Special Forces Operational Detachment-A or A-Team.
Tahaís civilian education consisted of a Bachelors of Science in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997, and a Masters in Economics from the University of Massachusetts 2001.
He deployed with 5th Special Forces Group to Iraq in support of OIF this past summer.
Ayman Taha, a Berkeley graduate who was described as athletic, a speaker of many languages, and a friend to all who met him, had only to write his dissertation to earn his PhD, his father said.
But three years ago, Taha, a budding economist and the son of a Northern Virginia couple, Abdel-Rahman and Amal Taha, joined the Army to serve in the Special Forces. About a year ago, he was sent to Iraq.
"He strongly agreed that what they were doing is good and that they were helping people in the Middle East to get out of the . . . historic bottleneck" that had confined them.
Since boyhood, those who knew him recalled, Ayman Taha had taken an interest in military matters, which showed itself in the books he read and the toys he played with.
Joining the Special Forces was "something he felt compelled to do," said a friend, Hisham Eissa, who lives in Los Angeles and is Nada Eissa's brother.
In economics, Taha's interest was in development. "He felt very strongly about making a difference," and "I think he felt that people like him" were needed for it, Eissa said.
"Everyone whose life he touched loved this guy," Hisham Eissa said. "There isn't a single person who knew him who isn't torn up about this."
The Pentagon said Taha was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
His wife, Geraldine, and child Sommer live near the base. One sister, Rabah, is a special education teacher in Fairfax County, and another, Lubna, attends Marymount University.
His father said Taha was a devout Muslim who believed that "the message of Islam is very simple . . . to believe in God and do good deeds."
"He believed that what he was doing were the good deeds Islam is asking for."