According to an Army press release, 17 Rangers serving with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment received military awards last week for their actions during the unit’s latest combat deployment to Afghanistan. The unit, which has deployed an amazing 22 times during the Global War on Terror, is credited with an astounding 1,900 killed or captured enemy in the span of 198 combat operations.
During the March 8th awards ceremony, which took place at the unit’s base at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, Army Maj. Gen. Mark Schwartz, the deputy commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), stated: “We are here to recognize extraordinary Rangers who have gone above and beyond what was expected of them. It is truly an honor to serve with men like you.”
Major General Schwartz emphasized that the Rangers’ actions, alongside other JSOC units, have been a crucial factor in the Taliban’s willingness to negotiate a peace settlement. The general, however, didn’t specify if the Rangers were directly or indirectly responsible for the extraordinary kill/capture number.
Master Sgt. Phillip Paquette received the Silver Star, which is the nation’s third-highest award for valor in combat, for his actions as commander of a joint special operations task force in an undisclosed location of Afghanistan on April 25, 2018. During the operation, the Ranger-led joint task force was involved in a heavy firefight with Taliban insurgents. During the action, Master Sergeant Paquette selflessly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to extricate a wounded teammate while suppressing enemy positions with accurate rifle fire. Moreover, throughout the engagement, Master Sergeant Paquette coordinated several dangerous close-air-support sorties that were pivotal in fending off the enemy forces. According to the citation, his actions “enabled the assault force to eliminate the enemy and safely maneuver the unit to the helicopter landing zone for exfiltration.”
“Though the award is an individual award, it’s all about the men serving with me,” said Master Sergeant Paquette. “We won’t leave anyone behind. We do what we do for the person to the left and to the right wearing tan berets and scrolls on our left and right sleeves. Serving as a Ranger is a lifelong relationship,” added the non-commissioned officer who is currently attending the Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
In addition to Master Sergeant’s Paquette’s Silver Star, the Rangers received eight Bronze Stars for valor, five Joint Service Commendation Medals for valor, and three Purple Hearts.
Unfortunately, the unit lost Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz during the deployment.