FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- An award created in honor and recognition of retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub's courageous actions on and off the battlefield as well as his significant contributions to U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, was presented to a deserving operator during the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Red and Black Ball, on Feb. 20, 2016.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 George A. Valdez, a team sergeant with 7th
Special Forces Group (Airborne), was recognized as the first recipient
of the award during the inaugural presentation ceremony.
"Valdez distinguished himself during six combat and two operational
deployments spanning Iraq, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and other
locations. During his most recent deployment to Afghanistan, Valdez
successfully led his Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha through
more than 15 firefights and the disarming of 82 IED's (Improvised
Explosive Devices) without the loss of a single Soldier," Horton said.
This award will be presented annually to deserving recipients who
exemplify the Army Special Operations Forces Next traits, the ARSOF
promise, and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to bettering ARSOF.
"The award recipient receives a rosewood plaque with a two-dimensional
medallion bearing the raised likeness of Maj. Gen. Singlaub, donated by
the Special Operations Association, and a USASOC certificate recognizing
him as this year's Maj. Gen. Singlaub Award winner," said Capt.
Kenneth T. Horton, USASOC DCS G-1 Personnel Operations Division. "In
addition his name will be engraved on a command plaque displayed in the
USASOC Headquarters building commemorating all future winners of the
Among his many accomplishments listed during the USASOC Ball, Valdez is
described by Horton as a "Dynamic, innovative, and adaptive leader that
serves as an outstanding representative of the entire Army Special
Regarded as the most significant event of the night, the Singlaub Award
presentation was extremely unique because it was presented by Singlaub
himself who was 94 at the time of the presentation.
As Col. Miguel A. Correa, Chief of Staff for USASOC, spoke about some of
the characteristics of Singlaub's, saying he is "a very spry 94 years
old because earlier this morning he challenged me to a push-up
competition." Though it says a lot about his character, that is not what
makes Singlaub such a remarkable leader and Soldier.
"Maj. Gen. Singlaub is a legend among SOF warriors, a forefather of the
modern day Green Beret, and has had a long and distinguished career and
history in Special Operations. He served in the office of strategic
services (OSS) in WWII in both France and China," Correa added. "During
the Korean War, he helped to create the Ranger Training Center at Fort
Benning, GA, served with the CIA, and commanded an infantry battalion.
In Vietnam, he commanded the military assistance command Vietnam-Studies
and Observation Group (MACVSOG)."
It's events like parachuting into Nazi-Occupied France during World War
II, on a mission to help organize and re-supply resistance elements
behind enemy lines to fight back, while knowing that if captured, he was
likely to be tortured and killed that are a true testament of his
character, service, and his merit for the creation of this award in his
"Every day the Luftwaffe would come and bomb us. So I sent a message
complaining about this and got an answer back a day later saying
'according to you, you are receiving more air-attacks than the forces
that landed in Normandy,' Singlaub said. "Which of course was true,
because the forces that landed in Normandy, didn't land until the
Luftwaffe had been driven in to where we were."
Despite his experiences in WWII, Singlaub still believes in the 'run
towards the gunfire' mentality, saying: "Go to the sound of the cannon
and solve the problem on the battlefield, don't worry about your career
it'll take care of itself if you survive."