EUFAULA, AL (WSFA) - A highly decorated, retired Army major general has died in an accident involving his lawnmower, a local coroner has confirmed.
Maj. General Eldon Bargewell was found at his home along Barbour Creek in Eufaula late Monday evening, according to Barbour County Coroner Chip Chapman. The coroner said Bargewell, 71, suffered fatal injuries after the riding lawnmower he was using overturned.
Bargewell was pronounced dead on the scene shortly after 9:30 p.m.
A native of in Tacoma, Washington, Bargewell enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967 and spent nearly 40 years serving his country.
Bargewell served in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for military valor. It was awarded for a 1971 incident in which his team came under heavy attack while on a reconnaissance mission deep inside enemy territory . Though seriously wounded, Bargewell refused medical treatment, opting instead to fight in order to get his team to safety.
According to MilitaryTimes.com, after Vietnam, Bargewell spent more than three decades commanding special operations units from team to Special Operations Command level, including as the commanding general of Special Operations Command Europe.
His final assignment while on active duty was as the Director of Strategic Operations at HQ’s Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad. He retired in 2006 and moved to Alabama.
According to the U.S. military, Bargewell’s list of military decorations was extensive and included:
The Distinguished Service Cross, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (5), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for valor (3), Bronze Star Medal for service (3), Purple Heart (4), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Army Commendation Medal for service, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/Bronze Arrowhead, Vietnam Service Medal (7), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal(3), NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, GWOT Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal , Presidential Unit Citation (MACV SOG-VN), Joint Meritorious Unit Citation (2), Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, French Service Medal (Ex-Yugoslavia), Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutists Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Military Free Fall Badge, Vietnamese HALO badge, Vietnamese, German, and Thai Parachute Badges.
He was also the recipient of the Colonel Aaron Bank award (2007), the Greater DC SOF Old and Bold Mountain Man award (2009), and the USSOCOM Bull Simons Award (2010). He was a member of Infantry Officers Candidate Hall of Fame (1997) and an enlisted Honor Graduate Ranger School (1970).
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.