Rangers Honored for Service - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/15/04

Rangers Honored for Service

The Army Rangers are part of the United States military's elite fighting force. They're playing important roles in the fight against terrorism including many secret missions we never hear about. Today, the Rangers are being honored for their heroism. Three hundred from Hunter Army Airfield were presented with awards, many of them just returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and a few were even involved in the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch.

"For me, to be a part of an organization that values the sanctity of life as we do, to put so many in harm's way for one, regardless of gender, race, color or creed, it really didn't matter," said Maj. Charles Hartford, who was awarded the Bronze Star. "She was an American and to be part of that was very, very special."

"Actually getting to go out there and actually pull someone out, it's like something you see in the movies, only you're the one doing it," said SSG John Fader.

For that mission and many others, 15 Rangers are receiving the Bronze Star, others are being awarded the Army's Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and the Combat Medic's Badge. "These men here are the greatest men in America," said SFC Steven Holland. "The greatest group of men that I am proud to serve with."

It is a proud moment, too, for families. "I'm so proud of my husband and I don't even know half of the things he's done; but, it's nice to see him honored because we think he's special," said Rebecca Hartford. "It's nice to see other people think he's special, too."

The Rangers honored were with the First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, but because of the nature of their work, we may never know many of the heroic deeds they accomplished during their missions.

"I think most Americans can understand that we can't talk a whole lot about the things we do," said Maj. Hartford. "But I think they can sleep better at night knowing we are capable of what we do."

Earlier today, Rep. Max Burns (R-GA Dist. 12) told the Rangers the war on terrorism was not going away. He called the rangers "our first line of defense." They've been deployed several times in the war on terrorism. many only returned home from their latest missions earlier this month.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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