WILMINGTON, N.C. (Nov. 5, 2014) -- The commanding general of the 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) recognized one of his former Soldiers Nov. 4.
During a ceremony near the former battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., 20th CBRNE Commanding General Brig. Gen. JB Burton presented the Army Commendation Medal with a V for valor to Chad Darrah for helping his platoon to save a wounded Iraqi soldier in 2007.
Burton commanded his brigade, the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, during the Iraq deployment.
"This award shows our commitment to recognizing our Soldiers, even after they transition back to civilian life," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee. "I was proud to command a brigade with Soldiers like Chad Darrah serving in it. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team and every unit in it served with distinction during our deployment to Iraq."
Darrah exposed himself to enemy gunfire and provided covering fire with a mounted M240B Machine Gun, enabling a group of Soldiers to rescue a wounded Iraqi troop from the Antar Square traffic circle in Baghdad. According to the award citation, his actions allowed his fellow Soldiers to conduct a successful casualty evacuation to the Patrol Base Apache Forward Aid Station.
At the time of the firefight, then Spc. Chad Darrah was on his second deployment to Iraq with the 2nd Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. During the 15-month deployment, he served in Adhamiyah section of Baghdad from August 2006 to October 2007.
A highly decorated combat unit, Darrah's battalion, the 1-26th Infantry, was awarded Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism during the deployment. Soldiers from the 1-26th Infantry earned 51 medals for valor during more than 1,700 patrols in the Adhamiyah section of Baghdad. Another Soldier from the battalion, Spc. Ross McGinnis, posthumously earned the Medal of Honor.
Darrah left the Army in 2008 before his award was processed.
During nearly five years of honorable service that included two deployments to Iraq, he also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, two Army Commendation Medals and numerous unit and campaign awards.
A native of Phoenix, Darrah has since earned his bachelor's degree in communications studies at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and is currently pursuing his goal of becoming an emergency medical technician.
Maj. Michael B. Baka, the executive officer of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment on Fort Myer, Virginia, served as Darrah's company commander during the Iraq deployment.
Baka said the award shows the U.S. Army's commitment to recognizing Soldiers even after they hang up their uniforms.
"I think this action speaks for itself," said Baka, a native of Rush, New York. "We never leave a fallen comrade and we never forget about those who have served before us."
"We are so thankful to be able to finally present him with this awesome recognition," said Baka.