Morale: Following a Trail of Medals


November18, 2006: SOCOM (Special Operations Command) does not publicize its deployments, lest the enemy get an idea where the operators are going. But it is possible to find out where SOCOM troops have been, usually from awards ceremonies. Recently, the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, held such a ceremony, after 350 rangers returned from their fourth trip overseas (to Iraq or Afghanistan). There was one Bronze Star awarded, seven purple hearts, and a lot of Combat Infantry Badges (to indicate that an infantryman had spent at least 30 days in combat). The rangers usually operate as combat support for Special Forces teams, and not undertaking the kind of patrolling and convoy escort that leads to most of the casualties in Iraq.


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