On Friday afternoon at the base, the Rangers service was honored in a ceremony that awarded medals to 295 soldiers.
The 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) last December from a five-month tour of duty where they operated in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
This marked the unit’s 24th deployment since 9/11, and on Friday afternoon at JBLM, the Rangers service was honored in a ceremony that awarded medals to 295 soldiers.
Twelve of those soldiers received Bronze Star Medals with a “V” that denotes valorous action during combat operations.The information shared during the afternoon ceremony gives a brief insight into the sometimes fierce combat that Rangers may engage in as they continue their wartime deployments.
• In Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Camilo Chinciilla, a weapons-squad leader, faced hostile fire from three enemy combatants, responding with small-arms fire and hand grenades that reduced the threat to his fellow Rangers and an aircraft. He received the Bronze Star with a “V,” as well as a Purple Heart for wounds he sustained.
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• In Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Cody Scott maneuvered toward hostile fire and at close range killed three enemy combatants who were barricaded. He received the Bronze Star with Valor.
• In Afghanistan, Sgt. Christopher Chom-I-Zak went into a building to “eliminate a determined enemy threat,” and was wounded by a grenade. He applied a tourniquet to a wounded limb while directing others in the assault force to tend to other wounded Rangers. He received the Bronze Star with Valor as well as a Purple Heart.
• At the ceremony, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Scoutten received his third Purple Heart.
The 2nd Battalion deployments — unlike larger movements by Stryker brigades and other units — are not publicly announced in advance. At JBLM, the battalion occupies what amounts to a base within a base, a walled-off compound fringed by barbed wire and restricted-area signs. The compound includes barracks, a dining hall, gymnasium and operations center.
The Ranger Creed, carved on stone slabs outside the operations center and recited in unison at awards ceremony, includes the declaration, “Surrender is not a Ranger word.”
Rangers at JBLM and those based elsewhere have played an important role in combat operations during the 9/11 era. Rangers were among the first U.S. forces in Afghanistan in October 2001 and also among the first to enter Iraq as that war began with the U.S. invasion in 2003.