SGT Craig Warfle of the 1st Ranger Battalion became the second most decorated soldier (SFC Leroy Petry and his Medal of Honor holds the mantle) in the 75th Ranger Regiment as he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during a ceremony last Friday, October the 26th. This also marks the first time since 9/11 that a serving Ranger was awarded this honor. Hell, to be honest, I’m not even sure if a Ranger of the modern Battalions has been awarded this since our beginning in 1974.

The DSC is second only to the Medal of Honor and last Friday’s ceremony marks the 26th time it has been awarded since the Global War on Terrorism started in 2001 – 11 awards for Afghanistan and 15 for Iraq. An interesting statistic is that out of those 26 awards; 10 were awarded to Special Operations soldiers (six to members of the Special Forces, one to a Night Stalker, two to members of Delta Force, and now one to a Ranger). The Distinguished Service Cross is the equivalent to the Navy Cross and Air Force Cross.

Part of the citation below, the full citation can be found here:

“Immediately after the kinetic strike, the team inserted a Ranger Element onto the hot landing zone to the West of the target area to eliminate the several remaining enemy combatants.  Ranger Element 1, consisting of Specialist Warfle and five others, were tasked with isolating the Northern side of the tree line and suppressing the enemy to allow Ranger Element 2 to assault from West to East.  Upon infiltration the Ranger Assault Force received effective enemy fire in vicinity of the North-South running tree line where the AH-64s had just completed gun runs.  As soon as Specialist Warfle stepped off the ramp he came under fire from multiple enemy positions and without hesitation returned fire and crawled 15 meters through the muddy field towards the enemy.  From this position, Specialist Warfle suppressed the multiple enemy positions with 150 rounds from his MK-46 allowing Ranger Element 1 to move to the North and Ranger Element 2 to maneuver to the South.  Under fire and with no cover in the open field, Specialist Warfle continued to suppress the enemy positions permitting members of the Assault Force to get down in the prone position while the leaders determined a way to assault the enemy positions. After a couple of minutes passed, Ranger Element 2 came under heavy effective fire from enemy crew served weapons.  Realizing that Ranger Element 2 was effectively pinned down in the open field to the South, Specialist Warfle moved with Sergeant Lugo to the North to flank the enemy position from the North-West.   

Specialist Warfle, while under heavy effective enemy fire, advanced on the enemy position to suppress the enemy and allow the Assault Force to maneuver on and destroy the entrenched enemy.  As Sergeant Lugo and Specialist Warfle voluntarily maneuvered towards the enemy positions they identified two entrenched enemy personnel with automatic weapons firing on the Assault Force.  Specialist Warfle continued to advance on the entrenched enemy using suppressive fire alone to protect Sergeant Lugo and himself because there was no available cover in open terrain. When Sergeant Lugo and Specialist Warfle got within 25 meters of the enemy machine gun positions, Specialist Warfle and Sergeant Lugo were both hit with a volley of machine gun fire.  Although Specialist Warfle knew he had been shot in the right shoulder he disregarded his own personal safety and moved through the kill zone to Sergeant Lugo’s side to protect his incapacitated Squad Leader.  Specialist Warfle purposefully positioned himself in the line of enemy fire and immediately suppressed the enemy in order to defend Sergeant Lugo and provide covering fire for the platoon medic, Sergeant Solomon, to move to and treat Sergeant Lugo.  Specialist Warfle fearlessly continued to provide accurate suppressive fire from his exposed position, allowing Staff Sergeant Myers and Sergeant Kochli the ability to move forward, suppress the enemy, and then subsequently evacuate Sergeant Lugo.  Specialist Warfle continued to provide suppressive fire as Sergeant Solomon, Staff Sergeant Tucker, and Sergeant Kochli pulled Sergeant Lugo back to cover.  Only after the casualty evacuation aircraft evacuated Sergeant Lugo, did Specialist Warfle treat the through and through gunshot wound to his right shoulder by applying a tourniquet to his right arm.  Specialist Warfle then proceeded to engage the enemy position from a position between the enemy and the Platoon for over twenty minutes while the Assault Force reconsolidated and moved back away from the enemy positions.  He steadfastly remained at his forward position delivering accurate fire on the enemy until all members of the Assault Force had moved across the open field to cover 100 meters to the West.  Specialist Warfle bounded back to the West over the open field while the Assault Force provided suppressive fire.  Specialist Warfle’s actions allowed the Assault Force to break contact, drop ordnance on the enemy positions, and safely move to the exfiltration hot landing zone.

By repeatedly risking his life for others, Specialist Warfle’s purposeful gallant actions, selfless dedication to the safety of his teammates, and demonstrated extraordinary heroism were distinctive and exemplary.  He is most deserving of the distinct recognition.  Through his distinctive accomplishments, Specialist Warfle’s personal actions reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

SGT Anthony Lugo – KIA Afghanistan, 2010

The info that I got from a 1/75 buddy who was present at the ceremony was that SGT Warfle laid on top of an unconscious SGT Lugo (received a gunshot to the stomach) to protect him from the immense incoming fire. Even with his shoulder/arm wound he never stopped firing his weapon at the Taliban and managed to drag Lugo to safety. Unfortunately SGT Martin Anthony Lugo, 24, of Tucson, Arizona succumbed from his wound a short time after being evacuated.

On a side note, the 1st Ranger Battalion was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (big deal) for their contribution to the Afghanistan war effort from 2010 to present. Four Rangers were also awarded the Silver Star!