The Department of Defense announced today, July 13, the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina, died, July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province. The incident is under investigation.
Celiz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
According to the Army Times, Celiz was on his fifth deployment with 1/75th Rangers and had previously deployed with the 1st Ranger Battalion to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2011.
He posthumously received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. His other awards include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Army Commendation medals, five Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three stars and the Iraq Campaign Medal with two stars.
In an online article from the Army Times, Celiz's battalion commander, Lt. Col. Sean McGee is quoted: “Sgt. 1st Class Chris Celiz was a great Ranger leader, and he will be sorely missed by 1st Ranger Battalion. He had an incredibly positive attitude that inspired Rangers throughout the formation. ... Sgt. 1st Class Celiz led from the front and always put himself at the decisive point on the battlefield. He was a loving husband and father, and he and his family have been an important part of the fabric that represents 1st Ranger Battalion and the Savannah community.”