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A rare fraternity. Rangers honor their own

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Rangers routinely enter the uncertain and then prevail.

Since the beginning of the War on Terror, Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment has deployed 15 times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You are used by Him to fulfill the mission on earth to rid the world of evil," Chaplain (Capt.) John McDougall said at the start of the unit's Combat Awards Ceremony.

The event was held March 20 at St. Martin University's Marcus Pavilion.  More than 600 family, friends and area officials attended the tradition-laden ceremony.

The unit's last deployment in support of Enduring Freedom was from June to October 2012.  It is scheduled to deploy again in May.

"Your success comes from a common commitment and common courage," said Lt. Col. Greg Anderson, 2/75 commander. 

Noting that trust, confidence, family and community support are important sources of the Rangers' success, Anderson added, "Love beyond ourselves leads to a life of service, and you can and will do more than you thought possible."

Spc. Ricardo Cerros gave the last full measure during the battalion's last deployment.  His actions saved the lives of two fellow Rangers.  His parents, Ricardo Cerros Sr. and Marguerite Quiroz, each received his Silver Star.

Moments later the audience of Army family members and veterans arose in a standing ovation.

Command Sergeants Major John Troxell and Daryl Thies joined I Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Robert Brown and Anderson in presenting 11 Purple Heart Medals, four Army Commendation Medals with V Device, one Joint Service Commendation Medal with V Device, seven Bronze Star Medals with V Device and three Silver Star Medals.

Along with Cerros, Sgt. Peter Cimpoes received the Silver Star.  During an intense encounter with insurgents, Cimpoes forced the insurgents to fire in his direction as other Rangers sought to reach two other wounded Rangers.

During the firefight, Pfc. Sean Pesce and Sgt. Thomas MacPherson were wounded. 

"Sgt. Peter Cimpoes didn't hesitate.  He knew instinctively what he needed to do," Brown said.

MacPherson later died of his wounds; Pesce is recovering from his.

The battalion also affixed six campaign streamers and a presidential unit citation streamer to its colors.

"This is the most rewarding part of my job, to pin these medals on these heroes," Brown said moments after the ceremony. "This group of Soldiers in front of us is a rare fraternity; they epitomize selfless service."

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