Eldon A. Bargewell
|Born||August 13, 1947|
Hoquiam, Washington, U.S.
|Died||April 29, 2019 (aged 71)|
Eufaula, Alabama, U.S.
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1967–1973, 1973–2006|
|Commands held||Special Operations Command Europe|
Joint Special Operations Command
5th Special Forces Group
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group
Operation Just Cause
Operation Acid Gambit
War in Afghanistan
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross|
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Early life and education
Bargewell was born in Hoquiam, Washington and graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1965, enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1967. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1968. During the Vietnam War Bargewell was accepted into MACV-SOG where he served at the "Command And Control North (CCN)" launch site at Da Nang and served as Non-Commissioned Officer Team Leader for Reconnaissance Team "Viper" (all CCN teams were named for states or snakes). While serving with CCN, Bargewell earned the Distinguished Service Cross in September 1971 for his actions in combat in saving his team and getting them to safety.
Bargewell's first assignment was as a member of the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he later served as rifle platoon leader and executive officer. As a captain, Bargewell was assigned as Rifle Company Commander with 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry. In 1981 Bargewell volunteered for, and completed, a specialized selection course for assignment to Delta Force where he would serve as Operations Officer, Squadron Executive Officer, Troop commander, Squadron Commander (twice), Deputy Commander and unit commander from July 1996 to July 1998. While in Delta Force Bargewell participated in Operation Acid Gambit during the invasion of Panama, including the rescue of American citizen Curt Muse from the Modelo prison. He commanded a Delta Force Squadron during Operation Desert Storm in western Iraq.
In 1998 Bargewell became Commanding General of Special Operations Command Europe, followed by assistant chief of staff for SFOR military operations in Sarajevo. Bargewell returned to the continental United States and served as director of the center of operations, plans, and policies of United States Special Operations Command. In 2005, Bargewell became Director of Strategic Operations at Multinational Force Iraq. While serving as the Operations Officer Bargewell pursued an outside administrative investigation as to how knowledge of the Haditha incident in Iraq passed up the Marine chain of command and whether or not any commanders lied in their reports. The informal investigation, pursuant to Army regulation AR 15-6, began on March 19, 2006 and was expected to examine how servicemembers and their commanders were trained in the rules of engagement. The completed report was sent to Army Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the second-ranked US commander in Iraq, on the morning of June 15, 2006. This was separate from a criminal investigation being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Distinguished Service Cross citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sergeant Eldon A. Bargewell, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Command and Control (North), Task Force 1, Studies and Observations Group, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, attached to U.S. Army Vietnam Training Advisory Group (TF1AE), U.S. Army Vietnam Training Support Headquarters. Staff Sergeant Bargewell distinguished himself on 27 September 1971 while serving as a member of a long range reconnaissance team operating deep in enemy territory. On that date, his team came under attack by an estimated 75 to 100 man enemy force. Staff Sergeant Bargewell suffered multiple fragmentation wounds from an exploding B-40 rocket in the initial assault, but despite the serious wounds, placed a deadly volume of machine gun fire on the enemy line. As the enemy advanced, he succeeded in breaking the assault and forced them to withdraw with numerous casualties. When the enemy regrouped, they resumed their assault on the beleaguered team, placing a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire on Staff Sergeant Bargewell's sector of the defensive perimeter. Again he exposed himself to the enemy fire in order to hold his position and prevent the enemy from overrunning the small team. After breaking the enemy assault, the team withdrew to a nearby guard. At the landing zone, Staff sergeant Bargewell refused medical treatment in order to defend a sector of the perimeter, and insured the safe extraction of his team. Staff Sergeant Bargewell's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 3391 (November 30, 1971)
Action Date: 27-Sep-71
Rank: Staff Sergeant [sic]
Company: Command and Control (North), TF 1, SOG
Regiment: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Division: 1st Special Forces
Bargewell died after his lawnmower rolled over an embankment behind his home.
Awards and decorations
- "Florida Voters, Bargetto, Allison Anne thru Barginda, Charlene". FLVoters.com. Nashua, NH: Tom Alciere. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- Army Times Staff (May 1, 2019). "Retired Army major general dies after lawnmower accident". Army Times. Springfield, VA.
- "Gray's Harbor's Culture of Success". Archived from the original on 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "List of Recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross". Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Stars and Stripes". Archived from the original on 2005-01-24. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Biography, Eldon A. Bargewell" (PDF). Distinguished Members of the Special Forces Regiment. Ft. Bragg, NC: U.S. Army Special Operations Command. April 5, 2012.
- Special Operations Association. Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing. 2006. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-59652-156-8.
- "75th Ranger Association Roster". Archived from the original on 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Discover Fayetteville". Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- Department of Defense
- Fury, Dalton. Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008 ISBN 978-0-312-38439-5 p. 40-41.
- Department of Defense
- Department of Defense
- "Special Operations Warrior Foundation News Archive". Archived from the original on 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "No direct link ties Marine to deaths" by Denver Post Staff Writers, Denver Post.
- "Haditha probe finds false reports"[dead link] by Thomas E. Ricks, The Washington Post.
- "House to Look Into Probe of Pendleton Marines" by Tony Perry, LA Times
- "Bargewell, Major General (MG) Eldon A." Dothan Eagle. Eufaula Tribune. 8 May 2019. Archived from the original on 21 May 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
- Eldon Bargewell at Find a Grave