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Secretive JBLM Rangers acknowledged in public ceremony

Medals, awards given to 40 Soldiers

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With more than 800 family members, friends and local leaders in attendance, over 40 Rangers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment were recognized in a rare public appearance for their heroism.

The unit is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Our heroes are all around us," said Lt. Col. David Hodne, the battalion's commander. 

The unit gathered May 10 inside the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall to honor its own following its 14th combat deployment since October 2001.

The event marked the battalion's second public post-deployment awards ceremony.

"When you have the opportunity to present men of character, men who have executed heroic actions, it would be irresponsible, quite frankly, as American citizens, to keep it isolated to the battalion," Hodne said.

Staff Sgt. Sean Keough received the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest award for valor in combat.  Seven other Rangers received the Bronze Star, the nation's fourth-highest decoration for bravery. 

Other Rangers received Commendation Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medals and Purple Hearts.

"You will hear it over and over this evening - ‘With complete disregard for his personal safety' - a Ranger acted," Hodne added.

Additionally, the battalion received two unit awards for its role in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2005. 

One operation resulted in the capture of a terrorist leader, and another mission led to the rescue of a Servicemember and the recovery of the bodies of several other military personnel.

"The battalion continues to make a difference, " Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, head of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said before pining the ribbon onto the battalion's flag. "They will go anytime, anywhere and complete the mission under any condition."

Five other Rangers received Soldiers' Medals for the assistance in the rescuing of two trapped mountain climbers on Mount Denali in Alaska in May 2011.

Since October 2001, the battalion has conducted more than 2,500 raids and captured or killed thousands of al-Qaida, Taliban and other insurgents.

The battalion is preparing for its 15th deployment.

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