Former Delta Force commander dies in lawnmower accident at Alabama home

Retired Major Gen. Eldon Bargewell


By LEADA GORE | Alabama Media Group | Published: May 1, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — A retired Army Major General and onetime commander of the elite Delta Force died in a lawnmower accident at his Alabama home.

Retired Major Gen. Eldon Bargewell, 72, died Monday after his lawnmower rolled over an embankment behind his house in Eufaula, Ala., WRBL reported.

Barbour County, Alabama Coroner Chip Chapman confirmed Bargewell’s death to WRBL News in Columbus, Georgia, on Tuesday.

According to his military biography, Bargewell enlisted in the military in 1967 and served in Vietnam, where he earned the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. According to the award citation, Bargewell “placed a deadly volume of machine gun fire” on the enemy during an attack, despite being wounded himself. He later refused medical treatment in order to defend the area and allow the safe extraction of his team.

“Staff Sergeant Bargewell's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army,” the commendation said.

Bargewell conducted more than 25 reconnaissance, direct action and team recovery missions into Laos and North Viet Nam.

Bargewell received his officer’s commission in 1973, he went on to serve as unit commander for Delta Force, where he participated in the invasion of Panama and later in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He went on to lead U.S. Special Operations Command, serving as Director of Strategic Operations at Multinational Force Iraq and Commanding General of Special Operations Command Europe.

His decorations include three Bronze Stars with combat “V” for valor under fire; four Purple Hearts; the Army Commendation Medal with combat “V” and a Presidential Unit Citation.

A Washington native, Bargewell retired in 2006 and moved to Eufaula.

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