Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EWS) Paul J. Darga, U.S. Navy was born on May 2, 1972 in Alpena, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 11, 1991 under the Delayed Entry Program and reported for Recruit Training on May 6, 1992. After graduating from Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida on July 13, 1992, Paul went to Steel Worker “A” School in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he graduated as the Honor Graduate.
Chief Darga reported to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) THREE in Port Hueneme, California where he served from October 21, 1992 until October 25, 1994. While at NMCB THREE he completed various construction and combat skills training courses. While there he was selected for the Diver Training Program. He began his Second Class Diver at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) in Panama City, Florida on November 10, 1994. After graduating, he reported to Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC), Port Hueneme, California for Underwater Construction Team (UCT) TWO Basic C1 Course training and a follow-on UCT assignment to UCT ONE in Little Creek, Virginia.
As a diver at UCT ONE, he worked as an underwater construction technician responsible for performing underwater construction, repair and maintenance of the waterfront and ocean facilities around the world. From UCT ONE, Paul transferred to Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 418 in Silverdale, Washington where he supported Fleet Hospital Operations and provided construction and disaster relief capabilities for the Pacific Northwest area. During his assignment at CBU 418, he was selected for the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Program and started his EOD training by returning to Dive School to complete the EOD Diving Course where he again earned Honor Graduate distinction. From NDSTC Panama City, Florida he graduated from Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal Eglin AFB, Florida on February 4, 2002 and immediately entered follow-on training at EOD Training and Evaluation Unit ONE in San Diego, California and the US Army Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Chief Darga’s first assignment as an EOD Technician was to EODMU TWO in Little Creek, Virginia. While assigned to EODMU TWO he qualified as a SCUBA Diving Supervisor, MK-16 Diving Supervisor and Helicopter Rope Suspension Training Master. As a member of EODMU TWO Detachment 20, he made four deployments in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Among his accomplishments while deployed was supporting a Naval Special Warfare (NSW) platoon during the initial clearing of the strategic Mina Al Bakr Oil Terminal in the Northern Arabian Gulf during the opening hours of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Paul was initiated as a Chief Petty Officer on September 16, 2005.
Besides woodworking and tinkering with his beloved green Mustang, Paul adored his wife Karie whom he met in high school and married in 1994. The couple enjoyed everything together and Paul’s heart melted when he found out Karie was pregnant. Their daughter Kailey was born in 2004. While it meant a lot for Chief Darga to be honored with a Bronze Star decoration from a previous deployment, he truly believed he was doing a job he was confident about and well trained for. Paul is survived by his wife Karie, daughter Kailey, and father, retired SFC John Darga, step-mother Judy and a host of family and friends.