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First Name: Justin

Last Name: Gallegos

Birthplace: Tucson, AZ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Tucson, AZ
Middle Name: Timothy

Date of Birth: 24 January 1982

Date of Death: 03 October 2009

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 2003 - 2009
Justin Timothy Gallegos

•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)
•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Justin Timothy Gallegos was the son of Edward H. and Josefina 'Yolanda' Gallegos. He attended Tucson (Arizona) High School and, in December 2000, graduated from Aztec Middle College at the West Pima Campus.

He joined the U.S. Army in May 2003. Assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, CO, Justin served two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq; one from November 2005 through November 2006, and a second from March 2007 through May 2008. At the time of his death, he was serving in his first deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On 3 October 2009, Justin was a Sergeant serving with Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Destroyer, in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

On that day, then-SGT Gallegos' heroic actions in the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, helped prevent it from falling into the hands of a Taliban force of more than 400 fighters. For his gallant actions, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal *, the U.S. Army's third-highest award for valor, as well as a posthumous promotion to Staff Sergeant.

To learn more about the action at Combat Outpost Keating that day, visit Honoree Record ID 213313. That record is for then-1ST Lieutenant Andrew Lawrence Bundermann, the officer leading the defense at Combat Outpost Keating. He too, received the Distinguished Service Cross.

* "Originally awarded the Silver Star for his actions in the Battle of Kamdesh, Gallegos was one of 12 upgrades from a Silver Star to the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest award for valor. The upgrades were part of a Pentagon-wide review of combat awards given after 11 September 2001, launched by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Achievement Medal Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with Award Numeral 2
Combat Action Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Justin T. Gallegos, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 3 October 2009, as a team leader for Troop B, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, in support of Combat Outpost Keating's main defense. After maneuvering under heavy sniper and rocket propelled grenade fire to reinforce a HMMWV battle position that was critical to the Outpost's defense, Staff Sergeant Gallegos called for fire on several enemy positions. While under heavy fire for nearly an hour, Staff Sergeant Gallegos continued to suppress the oncoming enemy with the crew-served weapon. Once the weapon's ammunition was exhausted, he engaged the enemy with his M4 carbine to allow fellow Soldiers in a nearby truck to evacuate from their position. From there, Staff Sergeant Gallegos and his team devised a plan to exfil to a covered position and rejoin Troop B to defend the Outpost. During this attempt, Staff Sergeant Gallegos knowingly risked his life when he braved enemy fire to retrieve a wounded comrade and help him to safety. Once behind cover, Staff Sergeant Gallegos risked his life again by exposing himself to machinegun fire to suppress nearby enemy fighters and enable the remainder of his team to move to his position. During this final act, Staff Sergeant Gallegos paid the ultimate sacrifice. Staff Sergeant Gallegos's actions enabled a section of Soldiers to regroup and provide necessary security to stave off enemy forces from the west side of the camp. His actions played a critical role in the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, and Troop B's subsequent counterattack against a numerically superior Taliban force. Staff Sergeant Gallegos's discipline and bravery bring great credit upon himself, the 4th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


Staff Sergeant Justin Timothy Gallegos is buried at Evergreen Memorial Park in Tucson, Pima County, AZ.


Honoree ID: 9074   Created by: MHOH




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