A former military officer in charge of an elite special mission unit of the United States Army died after a terrible accident in Alabama on April 29.
Former Delta Force Commander and Major General Eldon Bargewell died at the age of 72 after his lawnmower rolled over an embankment behind his home in Eufaula, 175 miles southeast of Birmingham.
Former Delta Force Commander and retired Major General Eldon A. Bargewell has died in accident. https://t.co/aSLbSZRqty
— SITREP NEWS (@armyupdate1) May 1, 2019
The Special Operations Association (SOA) in Texas paid a tribute to Bargewell, who was arguably one of most highly decorated soldiers still on active duty back in 2006 when he retired. In a social media post, SOA described his death as “another heartbreaking loss of a dear friend and special man.”
“This was absolutely one of America’s finest patriots and gentlemen. Those of us blessed to know him have a hole in our hearts that will never be filled,” SOA said in a Facebook post dated April 30.
Bargewell’s final post was serving as deputy chief of staff for operations in Iraq.
“[He was] director of operations for operations [like] Restore Hope (Haiti), Enduring Freedom-NATO (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) … when Delta was organized, Eldon was an original member and served at every level of Delta from operator to commander,” SOA said.
“He [also] commanded special operations units from recon teams to special operations command level in Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, the Middle East, El Salvador, Operation Just Cause (Panama), Desert Storm (Iraq), Restore Democracy, and Allied Force (Bosnia/Kosovo).”
Bargewell began his 39-year career back in 1967, just a couple of years after graduating from high school in Hoquiam, Washington.
According to SOA, he had finished a special forces qualification course one year later and served his country in the Vietnam War at a top-secret unit called Command and Control North, MACV-SOG, as team leader for Reconnaissance Team Viper.
“During his service in Vietnam, Eldon earned the distinguished service cross, second only to the medal of honor in 1971 for ‘extraordinary heroism’ by breaking an assault by enemy forces despite suffering from ‘multiple fragmentation wounds from an exploding B-40 rocket,’ continued to fight and insured the safe extraction of his team,” SOA said.
Al.com reported that the cross award citation commended Bargewell for releasing a “deadly volume of machine gun fire” on the enemy despite being wounded himself. He refused medical treatment in order to defend the area and allow 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,” the commendation said.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) May 1, 2019
After returning from Vietnam in 1972, Eldon attended Infantry Officers’ Candidate School and graduated as the leadership honor graduate of his class.
From Mike Taylor:Another heartbreaking loss of a dear friend and special man. Former Delta Force Commander and retired…
Arizona friend Don Wayne Curry paid a tribute to Bargewell on social media after learning of his accident.
“Ranger friend Major General Eldon Bargewell passed away,” Curry said in a Facebook post dated May 1. “Near the time of his retirement [he] was reportedly the most decorated active member of the Army, died at his home in Eufaula, Alabama, Monday from a lawn mower flipped over a[n] embankment.”
Ranger friend Major General Eldon Bargewell passed away. Commanded special operations units from team to Special…
Bargewell also received three bronze stars with combat “V” for valor under fire, four purple hearts, an army commendation medal with combat “V,” and a presidential unit citation.
You may have never heard of MG Eldon Bargewell before but he was a legendary U.S. Army leader and former Delta Force Commander. While his death was a tragic accident, his service to our country should not be forgotten. RIP Major General. https://t.co/zLoz9KtNRf
— Michael W. Trott (@AuthorMWTrott) May 1, 2019