Memories of Eldon

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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.

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.

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

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.


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