Memories of Eldon

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Ken Bowra, RT Idaho Vietnam

Submitted by MG Ken Bowra USA (Ret.)

This is me in RT Idaho team hootch. The RPD is Eldon’s. I carried it with drum loaded but also had spare belts, as in the photo. Both drums and links were hard to come by as had to be captured. When I used Eldon’s RPD he told me “Pick up the links, if at all possible.” I did.

Ken Bowra with RPD

Change of Command Ceremony 1998 Program

Submitted by Ted Mataxis

1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta – (Airborne)
(1st SFOD-D)

Change of Command Ceremony Program

10 July 1998

Major General Eldon Bargewell

Submitted by Peter J. Schoomaker General, USA (Ret.)

This photo was taken in the Oval Office with President George H. W. Bush following JUST CAUSE in Panama. The occasion was for the President to award the Silver Star to SFC Sam Joseph, the leader of the team that rescued Kurt Muse from his cell in Modello Prison…the event which kicked off the country wide operations that followed. Eldon, then a MAJ, was Sam’s commander reporting to me, then a COL, as commander of the unit, and GEN Downing, then a two star, was JSOC commander at the time and was my boss. He died in ’07. In addition to the award ceremony, we did a classified briefing of all our operations in Panama for the President and his main national security staff. GEN Powell was the CJCS and Dick Cheney was the SECDEF… both were at the briefing and ceremony and had actually flown down to see us in Panama shortly after things wrapped up down there.

Submitted by Tom Caldwell

I knew the General when we were both posted to the “unit”. He was my troop, squadron, and unit commander during an especially bad period for me. We were hunting Pablo Escobar when my Blackhawk crashed in the Colombian jungle. This was my 3rd crash in 5 months. He was instrumental in insuring I would have the year I requested to heal (which was not to be). He was also instrumental in moving me to the top of the promotion list for 8, and that I got it. To me, he was the most thoughtful, caring commander I ever had. As they say, I would follow him to hell. Even after I retired, he provided my first wheelchair and whatever else he could help me with. He IS and always will be a LEGEND.

Submitted by Robert E. Dimond III

My name is Robert E. Dimond III. I am a retired US Army Special Forces MSG (Master Sergeant). I first met Eldon close to 50 years ago when he was an SSG (Staff Sergeant). We were both with Special Forces in Vietnam assigned to Special Operations (SOG) running top secret missions. The last time I saw and talked to Eldon was about 5 or 6 years ago. He was a great leader and his death was a big shock to all of us in the military community.

Eldon Bargewell and Sons

Submitted by Nick Brokhausen

I served with Eldon in CCN, and he was my friend, my dear friend. I wrote two books about those years, titled We Few and Whispers in the Tall Grass. Eldon is in both. I knew him when he was a sergeant and later when he became an officer. I would occasionally drop in on his life which were bright spots in my life as I traveled the world.

Eldon was my friend, my defender and comrade and peer. We shall forever miss him, he was our Prince and fellow warrior, an example and paragon of what it means to be a leader and warrior. I salute you for your efforts to honor him. I am honored to have been his comrade and friend. His sons have the same spark and light, and have and will be tribute to his memory.

Please let us know if there is anything we can help with.

Mount Rainier, Washington-Eldon Bargewell 24-August-1986

Submitted by Mike Vining

Mount Rainier, Washington 24 August 1986. Eldon is in front on the right – he is reenlisting Edward “Eddie” Bugarin on the left. Of the six times I have climbed Mount Rainier, two times were with Eldon. He was the commander of A Squadron and we took the whole squadron up to the top. I believe Eldon climbed the mountain 13 times. The two times I climbed the mountain with Eldon were 22-24 August 1986 and 3-6 September 1991.  Both times were up to Camp Muir and the Disappoint Cleaver routes.

Mount Rainier, Washington-Eldon Bargewell 24-August-1986

Submitted by CW4 Dan Green (US Army Retired)

I served with MG Bargewell at 1st SFOD-D in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He was a Warrior’s Warrior. He was courageous, resilient, honest, competent, and personable. A Leader who cared for his troops and shared all their hardships and risks. All military combat leaders should strive to emulate the qualities of MG Bargewell. He made the world a safer place.

Submitted by Tom DiTomasso (USA Retired)

MG Bargewell was a personal mentor to many of us; an absolute inspiration as a Soldier and Commander. He will always be remembered as one of the best Leaders in our Army.

B Squadron - Delta

Submitted by Mike Vining

B Squadron – Delta
Eldon Bargewell (top row, far left), Mike Vining (fourth row, far right).

Submitted by Baba Noel DY

General Bargewell was the SOCEUR Commander in 1999, when we were in the midst of Combat in Serbia, he tore up an LOR (A Letter of Reprimand) . To be honest I deserved a swift kick in the pants but, he asked me if I felt there was a threat that needed to be addressed? My answer was yes, he told me he wanted NCOs who took initiative! Don’t do it again! Now, get out of my office! I saluted and he extended his hand and when I shook it he gave me his coin #20. The first presented outside of his staff. It truly was an honor!

Major General Eldon A. Bargewell

Submitted by Gerald (Fonz) Fontana

Eldon and I graduated SF Training together. (05B’s) 4 March 1968. Orders attached.

He was a PFC and I was a Sgt.

That was the last time I outranked him. LOL

Submitted by Jimmy Byars

I attended Ranger School. He received tops honors at graduation. Years past and I served with Eldon at the Unit on Ft. Bragg.

We were friends and again worked together in the civilian world.

There are a lot of things I could share regarding his heroism however what I appreciated most was his love and pride for his boys. We were all better soldiers because of Eldon’s leadership in tough circumstances.


Submitted by Mike Vining

Eldon and I were on the USS AMERICA (CV-66) during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY of Haiti.


LTC Bargewell briefing General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

Submitted by Doug Norvell

LTC Bargewell, then Commander of ‘A’ Squadron, briefing General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (Commander, U.S. Central Command), about ‘A’ Squadron’s missions and operations inside Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

Submitted by Mike Ring

A good man who understood and valued people over material. MG Bargewell staunchly supported efforts to conduct cross-community joint operations during a period in our nation’s history when policymakers and to a lesser extent, some of his peers, were risk adverse and pushed back on the planning and execution of those missions. I, as well as my teammates, owe him a debt of gratitude for his trust, camaraderie and willingness to push boundaries. We’re all fortunate to have known and worked with him….

Submitted by CW3 Charles Burkett

As SOCEUR Cdr, (then BG E. Bargewell), approved the multiple missions conducted ISO Bosnia operations from Brindizi, IT. During one of these missions, BG Bargewell stepped off his jet and personally instructed me to return back to Stuttgart, GE for the birth of my daughter, since my wife was beginning labor. He awarded me my highest medal to-date. He recommended me for Flight School on one condition: I had to graduate 1st in my class or else he would revoke my wings…. My proudest day was sending him a picture of my Distinguished Honor Graduate award. He was not only my best Commander, Leader & Mentor, he was my friend, and we stayed in contact for over 20 years. He would frequently tell me when he was visiting Bragg to check on his rental properties, and my family and I would stop in to visit with him. We both retired in the southeast less than 80 miles apart. We will miss him until we meet again. RLTW, Sir!

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