Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY
Being a soldier was much more to Fort Stewart medic Darren Hubbell than rank and uniform. It was, his uncle said, the very core of his being.
"It was his soul," Macclenny resident Kevan Hubbell said Friday. "It was his soul being a soldier and defending his country."
Army Sgt. Darren Hubbell, 38, died on Wednesday in Baghdad when a roadside bomb struck the vehicle in which he was riding. Four other soldiers, three Iraqi civilians and an interpreter were also killed in the explosion, said Hubbell, a captain in the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.
Darren Hubbell, a medic with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, had remarried in January before shipping out for what was his third tour in Iraq, said his father, Gary Lee Hubbell of Jacksonville Beach.
He attended elementary schools in Jacksonville Beach and graduated from Jacksonville's Lee High School in 1986, his father said.
The soldier was seven years into what was his second stint in the Army. He joined the Army immediately after high school, serving as an infantryman until leaving the military in 1995, Gary Lee Hubbell said.
That first stint included participating in operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, "so really he was on his fourth tour in Iraq," the elder Hubbell said.
He re-enlisted in 2000 at age 30, this time as a medic, and intended to make a career of the service, Gary Lee Hubbell said.
The man loved the Army so much and was such an dedicated soldier that he inspired his 19-year-old son to join the service as well, Kevan Hubbell said.
His son, Pfc. Darren Hubbell Jr., is currently serving in Iraq with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
The younger Hubbell himself was wounded in January in a roadside bomb explosion.
"The son idolized the father," Kevan Hubbell said. …