Jeff Struecker, March 2009
|Born||1969 (age 45–46)
Fort Dodge, Iowa, United States
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1987–2011|
|Unit||75th Ranger Regiment|
Battle of Mogadishu
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
|Awards||Bronze Star with V device and two oak leaf clusters|
Jeffrey D. Struecker (born 1969 in Fort Dodge, Iowa) is an author, pastor, and former U.S. Army Ranger who was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. He also participated in the 1989 invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) and in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Struecker has co-authored five published books.
Enlisted in the Army in September 1987 at the age of 18, Struecker served ten years in the 75th Ranger Regiment in positions ranging from Ranger Reconnaissance Specialist to Platoon Sergeant. He would go on to win the Best Ranger Competition in 1996 with partner SPC Isaac Gmazel.
Battle of Mogadishu
In the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, Struecker was a 24-year-old Sergeant and squad leader assigned to Task Force Ranger as a part of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He led the 3-vehicle convoy that returned, through intense fire, wounded Ranger Pvt. Todd Blackburn to base. In the film based on the battle, Black Hawk Down, Struecker is portrayed by Brian Van Holt.
After his enlisted service ended in April 2000, Struecker went on to graduate from seminary and became commissioned as a Chaplain. As Chaplain, Struecker served multiple tours in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. Struecker's final military assignment was Chaplain with the Regimental Special Troops Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Struecker retired from active military service at the end of January 2011.
Awards and decorations
Some of Struecker's military awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Bronze Star with Valor device and two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with bronze service star, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze service star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with bronze service star, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze service star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Superior Unit Award, Ranger Tab, and the German Parachutist Badge. Other awards not shown below include British Parachutist Wings and Thai Parachutist Wings.:
Immediately following his retirement from the military, Struecker joined the staff of Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia and became its senior pastor in April 2014. Struecker and his family had been members of the church since 2007. Struecker has also continued to author books and he speaks regularly to audiences across the United States about his experiences and about his Christian faith.
Return to Mogadishu
In March 2013 Struecker returned to Mogadishu with a film crew to shoot a short film Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down which debuted in October 2013 on the 20th anniversary of the battle. Struecker and fellow veteran-turned-country singer Keni Thomas relived the battle as they drove through the Bakaara Market in armored vehicles and visited the Wolcott crash site.
Education and personal life
Struecker earned the Doctor of Philosophy from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, a Master of Divinity Degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Bachelor of Science Degree and Associate of Science Degree from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama.
He is married to his wife Dawn and has five children.
- The Road To Unafraid: How the Army's Top Ranger Faced Fear and Found Courage through Black Hawk Down and Beyond (2006) ISBN 0-8499-0060-3
- Certain Jeopardy (2009) ISBN 0-8054-4853-5
- Blaze of Glory: A Novel (2010) ISBN 0-8054-4854-3
- Fallen Angel: A Novel (2011) ISBN 1-4336-7140-9
- Hide and Seek: A Novel (2012) ISBN 1-4336-7142-5
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- "Face of Defense: Chaplain Helps Others Fight Stress". DOD. 9 November 2009.
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- Wilhite Ending 40 Years at Calvary Baptist Church, www.ledger-enquirer.com; retrieved May 2014
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