Celiz, Christopher A.

Christopher A. Celiz was born in Summerville, South Carolina, on January 12, 1986, and loved riding his Harley motorcycle and playing guitar. He attended The Citadel from 2004-2006 before joining the Army in 2007. After completing combat engineer training from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Celiz showed tremendous ability in postings at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Stewart, Georgia. He deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009 for Operation Iraqi Freedom and to Afghanistan in 2011-2012 for Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2013, Celiz joined the 75th Ranger Regiment as a combat engineer, and in 2017 he became Company D’s mortar platoon sergeant with the rank of Sergeant First Class. Known for his selflessness and determination, he earned respect and affection from all of his comrades. His wife recalled: “He didn’t feel like he could do his job without his Soldiers ready and able by his side. He always pushed them and he wanted them to push him. He couldn’t be a better person if they didn’t challenge him.”

He was partway through his fifth combat deployment on July 12, 2018, when the action for which he earned the Medal of Honor took place in Paktia province, Afghanistan. During this action, Celiz was reportedly working with a counterterrorism team engaged in tracking extremist leaders, when his group came under fire from multiple directions. Selflessly exposing himself to enemy fire, Celiz retrieved a heavy weapons system and then used his body to shield an injured comrade. Despite injuries, he shielded a medical evacuation helicopter and then told the pilot to leave him behind in order to save his fellow Soldiers. A returning medical team found Celiz mortally wounded.

After his death, Celiz’s commanding officers declared, “Chris was a national treasure who led his Rangers with passion, competence, and an infectiously positive attitude no matter the situation. . . . Celiz was a great Ranger leader, and . . . he had an incredibly positive attitude that inspired Rangers throughout the formation. Sgt. 1st Class Celiz led from the front and always put himself at the decisive point on the battlefield. He was a loving husband and father.”

Before receiving the Medal of Honor, Celiz was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Place of Birth SC See More >
Birth Date 1-12-1986
Service Branch U.S. Army See More >
Conflict War on Terror See More >
Date Of Action Dec 18, 2007
Location and Details Paktia Province, Afghanistan