Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Christopher

Last Name: Falkel

Birthplace: Boston, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Matthew

Date of Birth: 24 September 1982

Date of Death: 08 August 2005

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 2001 - 2005
Christopher Matthew Falkel

•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)


Christopher Matthew Falkel
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

Chris Falkel enlisted in the U.S. Army on 25 October 2001. His Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) were received at Fort Benning, GA. He graduated from AIT in March 2002 and then attended Airborne School at Fort Benning before being assigned to Fort Bragg, NC, where he was a member of the 4th class of the Special Operations Preparatory Course.

In June 2002, Falkel completed the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course and was assigned to the Special Forces Qualification Course from which he graduated on 21 May 2003. After finishing his Arabic Language course and SERE training, Falkel was assigned to Operational Detachment, Alpha 316, Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a Weapons Sergeant (18B).

His Special Forces training included Blackwater Combat Marksmanship Course, Gryphon Group Force Protection Course, Mid-South Self Defense Institute, SFARTAETC and his favorite course - the one he was most proud of - Special Operations Target Interdiction Course.

SGT Falkel's 1st overseas deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom came in February 2004. Falkel was promoted to Staff Sergeant on 1 November 2004. His 2nd deployment was also to Afghanistan in June 2005.

On 7 and 8 August 2005, Staff Sergeant Christopher Matthew Falkel was serving as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and .50 Caliber Machine Gunner with Operational Detachment Alpha 316 (ODA-316), 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On those days, SSG Falkel distinguished himself in 5 fierce engagements with a well-trained, emplaced aggressive enemy during a time span of 34 hours while operating as the .50 caliber machine gunner on the last vehicle of his element as it conducted operations in the Zabol Province of Afghanistan while deployed to A-Camp Lane. SSG Falkel's calmness under fire and tactical competence were imperative to the detachment's survival. During the unit's first engagement in the Buka Ghar Valley, SSG Falkel was instrumental in helping fix and engage enemy positions that had the entire element pinned down. SSG Falkel's continuous engagement without concern for his own well being allowed the heavily-suppressed elements to get to positions of better cover and his relentless punishment to the enemy, while fully exposed, later caused them to retreat. During the 2nd contact in the Buka Ghar Valley, SSG Falkel was again instrumental in accurately putting down heavy volumes of fire on well-emplaced machine gun positions so other members of his unit could move up to the pinned down Afghanistan National Army (ANA) elements that were part of the patrol and help consolidate, assess, and gain control of their situation. SSG Falkel's element continued to receive heavy volumes of machine gun fire and RPGs from numerous positions. SSG Falkel played a crucial role in the final elimination and forced withdrawal of the enemy by providing cover for the ODA's mortar team while they engaged the extremely-fortified machine gun positions. If it wasn't for the cover fire and marking of these positions by SSG Falkel, the element would have been seriously devastated by the well-emplaced, heavily-armed and numerically-superior forces.

As his element continued to pursue the enemy during their retreat, they sent ahead for reinforcements to set up what was to be the 3rd ambush. During his element's pursuit, it received Anti Coalition Member (ACM) communications stating that they were targeting the last vehicle because it was very strong. This information didn't faze SSG Falkel, who insisted that he must go forward and finish the enemy off. Upon the 3rd ACM ambush, SSG Falkel immediately located and fired upon the well-emplaced and trained enemy force, ignoring his own safety, while being engaged by a flanking element. SSG Falkel's bravery allowed the ANA element to maneuver on the larger ACM element, later causing these same elements to maneuver to a location they thought would give them a tactical advantage. However, this only led them to a better vantage point for SSG Falkel, who was able to eliminate them during their maneuver to what would have been a position devastating to our ANA element. The remaining ACM elements broke contact again, only to reform and gather more experienced and trained fighters further down the element's route. The 4th ACM contact opened up on the lead element with concentrated fire, but SSG Falkel quickly and effectively responded as he had done in the previous contacts, knowing that he would draw fire upon himself. Immediately to the flank of the element's vehicle, the major portion of the ambush opened up with an extraordinary amount of heavy machine gun fire. SSG Falkel, while fully exposed, quickly and effectively spun his turret and machine gun in the direction of fire and began to engage, although rounds were impacting all around the vehicle and him the entire time. Again ignoring his own safety, SSG Falkel continued to engage, his only care being that of his fellow team members. SSG Falkel continued to suppress the well-concealed enemy until aircraft came on station. SSG Falkel was able to spot and lay down effective fire so the aircraft knew where to fire to completely eliminate the enemy threat.

Once again, the element intercepted ACM communications that said they were reorganizing at a location that they had success with in the past. SSG Falkel demanded that we continue on and finish the enemy. As the unit entered Cakyan Ghar Valley, the enemy opened up with what was to be SSG Falkel's 5th and final encounter with the highly-trained, numerically-superior, and well-equipped ACM force that it had been dealing with and pursuing for the past 30 hours. As before, the enemy opened up on the lead element with extraordinary volumes of machine gun, RPG and AK-47 fire. SSG Falkel rapidly spun his turret and gun while informing the rear gunner of the vehicle where the fire was originating, and began to engage. SSG Falkel's only concerns were for his team mates and trying to eliminate, or draw, some of the fire from those machine gun positions that had the lead element pinned down. No sooner had SSG Falkel begun to engage the well-emplaced enemy positions, when the rear gunner of the vehicle saw him slumped over his 50 cal. machine gun that was still orientated towards, and covering down on, the ACM elements that were heavily engaging his team mates. It was later discovered that SSG Falkel had taken a single shot to the head. It is believed that SSG Falkel was targeted by an ACM sniper due to his effectiveness during the 4 earlier enemy ambushes that accrued in the 34 hours prior. SSG Falkel’s courageous actions on those 2 days earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards, Badges and Tabs (Partial List)

Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Special Forces Tab

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Christopher Matthew Falkel, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and .50 Caliber Machine Gunner with Operational Detachment Alpha 316 (ODA-316), 1st Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne), Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan, on 7 and 8 August 2005, in and around the BUKA GHAR and Marah Valleys, Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Staff Sergeant Falkel's unyielding spirit, selfless service and aggressive nature effectively disrupted five enemy ambushes and greatly contributed to the successful extraction of his teammates during and over a forty hour running battle in close combat with a numerically superior enemy. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, and the United States Army.


Staff Sergeant Christopher Matthew Falkel is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Arlington County, VA, In Section 60, Site 8212.


Honoree ID: 8453   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image