1st Battalion 22nd Infantry


Soldier Attached to 1st BN Receives Award



1-66 AR honors BFV, Abrams ‘Top Gunners’


Spc. David Hodge

1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.

            A Soldier from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division,
was presented a Bronze Star Medal with Valor device June 29 for his action
following an improvised-explosive device attack while deployed in Iraq.

Sgt. Rodrigo Vargas, an infantryman assigned to Company A, 1-66 AR, was presented the award
by Lt. Col. Scott McKean, commander, 1-66 AR.         

While serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT,
during Operation Iraqi Freedom I, the vehicle Vargas was traveling struck an IED while conducting a combat patrol,
injuring the company commander and medic.

“From the initial blast, to when the dust settled, was in slow motion to me –
but when the dust cleared, everything was full throttle,” said Vargas..

He said he couldn’t hear, see or feel anything after the IED exploded. Both of his eardrums were ruptured in the attack,
yet his instincts told him to stay on the gun.

“Sgt. Vargas refused medical treatment and provided security on the M1 .50-caliber machine gun,” said McKean, during the ceremony.


Six fellow 1-66 AR Soldiers were also presented awards during the ceremony
for their accomplishments during a recent gunnery competition in which they were named the battalion’s “Top Gunners.”

Army Commendation Medals were awarded to the top M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew,
and Army Achievement Medals to the top M1A2 Abrams crew.

 Sgt. Benjamin Newton, Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander, Spc. David Weinthaler, gunner,
and Pvt. Joshua Plocica, driver, all assigned to assigned to Company B, 1-66 AR, were presented Army Commendation Medals
after earning top honors for M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews in the brigade.

            Staff Sgt. Joseph Cook, tank commander; Sgt. Joshua Becker, gunner; and Pvt. Shain Stevenson, driver,
all assigned to Company D, were presented Army Achievement Medals after earning top honors
for M1A2 Abrams Tank crews in the battalion.

            “I’m pretty competitive,” Cook said. “That coincides with what I tell my Soldiers: ‘Always give 100 percent at everything.’”

            McKean thanked the Soldiers for their dedication to duty in making the Iron Knight Battalion combat ready
and spoke with them about upcoming missions and deployments.

FORT HOOD, Texas – Sgt. Rodrigo Vargas (right), an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment,
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, is presented the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device June 29
by Lt. Col. Scott McKean, commander, 1-66 AR.

At the time of the action for which he received the medal
Sgt. Vargas was attached to Company C 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.)




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