By Nancy Gould, Hunter Army Airfield Public AffairsMarch 25, 2010
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - About 800 Rangers from the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment stood quietly in formation as they were awarded medals for combat actions by Maj. Gen. Joseph Votel, deputy commanding general, Joint Special Operations Command, and Col. Brian Mennes, the 1/75th Ranger Regiment commander, during a ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield, March 15.
Held at the Ranger Memorial Courtyard, the event recognized Rangers who have demonstrated sacrifice and valorous and meritorious achievements during one of the most costly deployments in the Global War on Terror during the peak of the Taliban insurgency. It marked the Rangers' 13th deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Medals awarded included five Bronze Star Medals for valor; 28 Bronze Star Medals; 14 Army Commendation Medals and 18 Purple Hearts.
When Maj. Gen. Votel addressed the crowd of service and Family Members who had gathered, he acknowledged changes - such as new barracks and the newly constructed Ranger Memorial - in the battalion since he commanded it six years earlier. But he said some things about the battalion had not changed at all.
"Rangers are still fighting the toughest battles," he said. "The battalion still attracts the best men our nation has to offer, and NCOs are still the backbone of the battalion, leading by example in combat."
One noncommissioned officer he acknowledged was Sgt. First Class Andrew Rubin.
"Despite being wounded, he selflessly saved the lives of two of his men by providing suppressive fire and medical support while leading from the front," said Maj. Gen. Votel. Sergeant First Class Rubin received a Bronze Star for Valor, a second Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and a Purple Heart. His valor also got him an invitation to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.
"This ceremony is about saying thanks for excellence and bravery," said Col. Mennes with tears in his eyes. "It's also about thanking Family Members for their support. It's not easy to love a Ranger. They are constantly in harm's way."