Wednesday Warfighter: Capt. Darrel DeLeon

In October 2010, Captain Darrel DeLeon , mission commander in the 1st Space Operations Squadron, deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as a liaison officer to the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force. Captain DeLeon was traveling to work on April 2, 2011, when he heard two large explosions coming from the base gate and the unmistakable sound of small arms fire. Following his first impulse to join the fight, he hurried to his office to retrieve ammunition and armor and then ran back toward the gate.

When Captain DeLeon arrived at the scene, he discovered a team of insurgents, including three suicide bombers, attacking Camp Phoenix’s west gate. Two of the suicide bombers had detonated explosives, injuring an American Soldier. During the ensuing gunfight, Captain DeLeon, a former 14-year Army medic, noticed that the Soldier injured by the initial explosions was in the open and still vulnerable to enemy fire. He called for suppressive fire and dashed through the line of fire to retrieve the downed Soldier. After removing the Soldier from danger, Captain DeLeon administered first aid and bandaged the Soldier’s severely bleeding leg and arm.

After Captain DeLeon treated the injured Soldier, he spotted another injured Soldier in the middle of the firefight, clearly in harm’s way. With no regard to his personal safety, Captain DeLeon sprinted to the injured Soldier and dragged him out of the line of fire.

Recognizing that the injured Soldiers needed to be medically evacuated, Captain DeLeon put his life in danger for the third time. He ran across the battlefield to commandeer an all-terrain vehicle into which he placed the injured Soldiers and rushed them to the medical clinic. Returning to the battlefield once more, Captain DeLeon was directed to a third injured Soldier with a severe shrapnel wound. He again provided first aid and transported the Soldier to the clinic for medical attention.

His heroic actions helped save the lives of three U.S. Army Soldiers and suppress an attack on the base. For his bravery that day, Captain DeLeon was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor.

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