Major General Eldon Bargewell

Major General Eldon Bargewell

Major General  Bargewell was born in Tacoma, Washington. Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1967, he completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1968. MG Bargewell has served in the following Special Forces and Special Operations units: the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG(A)); 6th SFG(A); 7th SFG(A); and 10th SFG(A); Co B (Ranger (RGR)) 75th INF (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP)) Company; 2nd BN (Ranger) 75th INF; Military Assistance Command – Vietnam Studies and Operations Group Command Control North (MACV-SOG CCN); 1st Special Operations Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (SFOD-D): Special Operations Command-Europe (SOCEUR); Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC); and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

In September 1968, he was assigned to Reconnaissance Company, MACV-SOG CCN. During his two tours in SOG as a Non-Commissioned Officer Team Leader, Bargewell conducted over 25 recon, direct action and team recovery missions into Laos and North Viet Nam. During a crossborder mission on September 27, 1971 where his team was ambushed by a greater enemy force, his actions in saving his team and getting them to safety even though he was gravely wounded earned him the Distinguished Service Cross.  Shortly after returning from Vietnam in 1972, MG Bargewell attended Infantry Officers’ Candidate School (OCS) which he graduated as the Leadership Honor Graduate of OCS class 3-73 in April 1973. During his subsequent 33 years, he commanded special operations units from team to Special Operations Command level in Cambodia, Laos, North Viet Nam, the Middle East, El Salvador, Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama), DESERT STORM (Iraq),RESTORE DEMOCRACY and ALLIED FORCE (Bosnia/Kosovo); and as Director of Operations for Operations Restore Hope (Haiti), Enduring Freedom-NATO (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). His first assignment was with Co B (RGR) 75th INF (LRRP) at Ft. Lewis, Washington whose wartime mission was to provide reconnaissance teams in support of 7th Corp in the Fulda Gap area, Germany. MG Bargewell served in multiple assignments with the unit including as a Patrol Platoon Leader, acting Company Commander (Cmdr) followed by duty as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Executive Officer. He also served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Assistant Deputy Commander 9th Infantry Division (ID). Upon promotion to Captain he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 9th ID, where he served as S-3 Air and Rifle Company Cmdr in 2d Battalion, 47th Infantry. Following a brief assignment as Infantry Branch Representative at Ft. Benning, MG Bargewell was selected for assignment to 1st SFOD-D in 1981 where he served as Operations Officer, Squadron Executive Officer, Troop and Squadron Commander (twice), Deputy Commander, and finally, Cmdr. From 1993 to 1996 Bargewell was assigned to JSOC as the Director of Operations J-3. Upon selection to Brigadier General in 1998 he was assigned as the Commanding General, SOCEUR in Stuttgart, Germany with the mission to provide trained and equipped Army, Navy and Air Force Special Operations units for employment in Africa and Europe, especially Bosnia and Kosovo. While commanding the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) Noble Anvil during Operation ALLIED FORCE in Serbia, Bargewell provided Combat Search and Rescue forces. His JSOTF is credited with the rescues of two shot down USAF pilots as well as the conduct of several other operations. From 2000 to 2001, he served as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Stabilization Force Headquarters (SFOR), Sarajevo, Bosnia, responsible for operational actions against Persons Indicted for War Crimes. Returning stateside in 2001, for the next two years, MG Bargewell was the Director of the Center for Special Operations, Plans, and Policy, USSOCOM, Florida before being assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at Allied Joint Force Command (NATO)
– Brunssum, Netherlands for the next two years. During this assignment, he also served as the CG for the Division size NATO RESPONSE FORCE and was the senior US Military Representative to the US Ambassador in the Netherlands. MG Bargewell’s final assignment on active duty was as the Director of Strategic Operations at HQ’s Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad (2005-2006). 

MG Bargewell’s military decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (5), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for valor (3), Bronze Star Medal for service (3), Purple Heart (4), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Army Commendation Medal for service, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/Bronze Arrowhead, Vietnam Service Medal (7), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal(3), NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, GWOT Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal , Presidential Unit Citation (MACV SOG-VN), Joint Meritorious Unit Citation (2), Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, French Service Medal (Ex-Yugoslavia), Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutists Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Military Free Fall Badge, Vietnamese HALO badge, Vietnamese, German, and Thai Parachute Badges. MG Bargewell is also the recipient of the Colonel Aaron Bank award (2007), the Greater DC SOF Old and Bold Mountain Man award (2009), and the USSOCOM Bull Simons Award (2010). He is a member of Infantry Officers Candidate Hall of Fame-(1997) and an enlisted Honor Graduate Ranger School (1970)