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Master Corporal Graham Ragsdale of the Canadian Forces was the commander of the Third Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry sniper team attached to the United States Army 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Anaconda in the Shah-i-kot Valley, Paktia Province, Afghanistan in March, 2002. The sniper team recorded more than 20 priority target confirmed kills including the long distance record combat kill of 2430 metres set by Corporal Rob Furlong. Master Corporal Ragsdale with selfless disregard for his own personal safety operated his sniper team through extreme weather conditions at high altitude while under direct and indirect enemy fire aiding the success of the mission by identifying and neutralizing enemy targets and saving allied lives. He was awarded the U.S. Army Bronze Star with "V" for valour for his actions in combat and the Mention in Dispatches Oak Leaf by the Canadian Forces for valiant conduct and meritorious service.
Graham Ragsdale was born June 28, 1969 in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He joined the Canadian Forces after graduating from secondary school and upon completion of selection and parachute training he was posted as a paratrooper to 2 Commando of the now disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment, Special Service Force (SSF) where he gained the reconnaissance, sniper, tracker, machine gunner, amphibious operations, and mountain operations qualifications.
After leaving the forces for four years to attend university and pursue a promising amateur boxing career he rejoined the Canadian Forces and was posted to the newly formed 3 PPCLI light infantry battalion where he gained the mortarman, leadership, jumpmaster, freefall parachute instructor, unarmed combat instructor, British pathfinder and British sniper instructor qualifications. In 2000 he completed a tour of duty in the Former Yugoslavia with NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR), and was then given the command role of battalion master sniper in charge of the sniper group that in 2002 was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the US Operation Enduring Freedom and Canadian Operation Apollo.
Master Corporal Ragsdale lost the hearing in his left ear from explosions while being mortared in open ground during the famed Operation Anaconda and was honourably released into the care of Veterans Affairs Canada. Master Corporal Ragsdale's C3A1 sniper rifle is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada.
Medals and Decorations
- Sacrifice Medal (replacing the previously awarded Wound Stripe) - Afghanistan
- South-West Asia Service Medal
- Special Service Medal - Alert
- Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
- NATO SFOR Medal - Former Yugoslavia
- Bronze Star Medal with "V" (United States)
- Mentioned in Dispatches
- Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation
- Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
- McMillan Trophy
- Parachute wings Canadian Forces
- Parachute wings British Army
- Parachute wings British SAS
- Pathfinder Flash British Army
- Sniper badge Canadian Forces
- Sniper badge British Army
- Parachute wings senior United States Army
- Parachute wings HALO United States Army
- Air Assault wings United States Army
- Naylor, Sean. "Not a Good Day to Die" Penguin Group (New York), 2005
- Pegler, Martin. "Out of Nowhere - A History of Military Snipers" Osprey Publishing, 2006
- Friscolanti, Michael. "We Were Abandoned" Maclean's, Rogers Publishing, 2006-05-15
- Krott, Rob. "Canadian Snipers Take Out Taliban" Soldier of Fortune, 2002–08
- 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry