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Leon “Pepper” TAGLE, 43, was lost at sea in an aircraft accident off the coast of Spain on October 10, 2001. He was on his way to Oran, Algeria on a job assignment for Consolidated Restoration Systems.
He was born in Edinburg, Texas on February 19, 1958 and grew up in Houston, Texas. After graduating from Aldine High School in 1976, Leon “Pepper” Tagle joined the Navy in Houston, Texas in June 1976. After attending boot camp and Signalman A school, he volunteered for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (BUDS), graduating with Class 93. He reported to UDT-11 on August 22, 1977 where he completed both a Western Pacific Deployment and an Arabian deployment.
In January 1981, Pepper reported to NAVSPECWAR UNIT TWO, Macrihanish, Scotland and helped stand up the command as a Plank owner. In 1983, he returned to Coronado, California and reported to SEAL Team Five (formerly UDT-11) completing three platoons and a 6-month support deployment. In June 1993, Pepper transferred to NAVSPECWARCEN, and served as Asst. Camp Supervisor at Camp Al Huey on San Clemente Island, CA. SEAL Team Three received Pepper in June 1996. While onboard, he served as Training Cell LPO and as a Primary Land Warfare Instructor. He received numerous awards and recognition during this last tour, including both the Sailor of the Year and Sailor of the Quarter for SEAL Team THREE, Commander Naval Special Warfare Group ONE's Sea Sailor of the Year, Special Operations Command Navy Service member of the year, and the Navy League Admiral Ricketts award for inspirational leadership.
After retiring form the Navy on September 11, 1998, he joined DynCorp and the O.S.C.E. (Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe) working in Kosovo. He served as a peacekeeper and liaison among Albanian and Serbian civilians, Yugoslavia Police and Military, and the Kosovo Liberation Army. He investigated human rights issues and responded to emergency situations. He returned to the U.S. in October 2000. Leon was currently working for Consolidated Restoration Systems.
Leon was preceded in death by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Domingo Lopez Sr. and Edinburg Police Lieutenant and Mrs. Leoncio Tagle of Edinburg, Texas. Leon is survived by his mother, Mary Tagle; sisters, Nora Tagle-Garza and fiancé Jerry Nicar, Melissa Rundle and husband Don, their children Jennifer and Tara Reeder Woods, Michelle Westbrook and husband Charles Jr., their children Sarah and Charles III. Leon's father Amadeo Tagle and wife San Juana, brother, Francisco Tagle and son Fernando, stepbrother Jaime Ortiz and wife Bertha their children Giselle and Gabriel, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
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