Ranger Sergeant Stephen Trujillo
|Place of birth||Denver, Colorado|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1979—1994|
|Rank||Private through Captain|
|Unit||2d Ranger Battalion
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
1st Special Forces Group
|Battles/wars||Invasion of Grenada
Advisor, Republic of Peru
Combat Medical Badge
Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Jump Star
Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge
Special Forces Tab
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead
|Other work||US Government Employee
US Government Contractor
Stephen Trujillo (born November 11, 1960 in Denver, Colorado) is a former sergeant and commissioned officer in the United States Army. Trujillo graduated with a diploma from Northglenn Senior High School in 1978 and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder before dropping out to join the Army as an enlisted man in 1979.
Trujillo completed Basic Combat Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, Advanced Individual Training as a combat medical aidman at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, then attended the Basic Airborne Course ("Jump School") at Ft. Benning, Georgia before attending the Ranger Indoctrination Program ("RIP") at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
As a member of the 2d Ranger Battalion, Trujillo participated in numerous deployments and exercises, and was soon promoted to Private First-Class. After attending Ranger School and graduating from Ranger class 14-81, Trujillo was promoted to Specialist Fourth Class.
As a medic assigned to a Ranger line platoon, Trujillo was also trained as a Jumpmaster and as a HALO parachutist, and was one of the first Ranger medics to complete the Special Forces Medic course in 1983.
Prior to 1983, only Special Forces trainees attended the Special Forces Medic course. After a small number of medics from the 1st and 2d Ranger Battalions attended and completed the course in a distinguished fashion in 1984, later Ranger medics were permitted to attend.
Trujillo completed the academic phase of the Special Forces Medic Course, then known as 300F1, at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas in late 1982. He then completed the second phase, known as "OJT" for "on the job training" at Ft. Dix, New Jersey in early 1983. After graduation from the culminating phase, known as "Med Lab" at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Trujillo was promoted to Sergeant.
In late October, 1983, Trujillo was participating in a HALO Jumpmaster training course in Yakima, Washington with other HALO parachutists of the 1st and 2d Ranger Battalions when both battalions were alerted to spearhead Operation URGENT FURY, the invasion of Grenada.
Trujillo participated in clearing operations on the airfield with other members of his platoon during the morning of October 25. Trujillo also participated in a short firefight against a counterattacking Cuban element near the True Blue Campus of the St. George's University School of Medicine later that afternoon.
On the next day, October 26, 1983, Trujillo participated in the 2d Ranger Battalion raid on the Grand Anse Campus of the St. George's University, an operation which rescued a great number of anxious students.
On October 27, 1983, the 2d Ranger Battalion executed another raid against a Cuban training facility at Point Calivigny. Trujillo and other members of his platoon were in the lead helicopter to insert onto the Cuban compound. Of four helicopters in the first sortie, only the lead helicopter succeeded in landing and departing, despite sustaining damage from enemy fire. The other three helicopters, all carrying fellow Rangers of Company A, crashed onto the landing zone.
Three Rangers were killed outright, the only three fatalities suffered by the 2d Ranger Battalion during the Grenada operation. Two other Rangers were grievously wounded, Lieutenant William Eskridge, and Staff Sergeant William Sears. While under fire, Trujillo and Ranger Sergeant Gerald Holt pulled Eskridge and Sears to cover, and rendered first aid.
Holt was a Ranger medic who was assigned to the 2d Platoon, "Black Sheep," of Company A. In the aftermath of the disaster, Holt received the Bronze Star with Valor Device. Trujillo was initially expected to receive a Bronze Star as well, until his decoration was upgraded to the Silver Star.[5 ]
|Awarded by United States Military|
|Awarded for||Gallantry in action: "Upon landing in the compound under intense enemy fire, Sergeant Trujillo assumed his defensive position and witnessed the other three helicopters losing control and crashing into one another. He immediately ran 25 meters across open terrain to the aircraft, thus exposing himself to intensive enemy fire, flying shrapnel, and the possible explosion of the burning aircraft. He quickly assessed the gruesome and precarious situation and began removing wounded soldiers from the aircraft...With only the lives of his fallen comrades in mind and while still in the open and exposed to automatic weapons and small arms fire, he began administering first aid to the critically wounded."[5 ]|
After redeploying back to the United States, Trujillo was first honored by President Ronald Reagan at a South Lawn ceremony at the White House for the rescued students from Grenada on November 7, 1983.
When the decoration was awarded some weeks later by Brigadier General Joe Lutz, Commander of the 1st Special Operations Command (1st SOCOM, predecessor of US Army Special Operations Command), Sergeant Trujillo became the first recipient of a Silver Star since the Vietnam war.
The US Navy and US Marine Corps later awarded at least seven Silver Stars to selected service members for actions during Operation URGENT FURY, some of them posthumously.
Although Trujillo's Silver Star was initially believed to be the only one awarded to a member of the US Army, it later became apparent that an unknown number of Silver Stars were also awarded to members of classified US Army units that participated in the operation.
It should be noted that the US Marine Corps ultimately upgraded the posthumous Silver Star awarded to Captain Jeb F. Seagle to the Navy Cross, the second-highest decoration for gallantry in action, just below the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In the aftermath of Operation URGENT FURY, Sergeant Trujillo attended the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and transferred to the US Army Special Forces.
Because Trujillo was already a graduate of the Special Forces Medical Aidman course, he attended the Special Forces Engineer course. When he earned his Green Beret and graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course with class 4-84, he was consequently awarded two specialties: Special Forces Medical Aidman, and Special Forces Engineer.
As a member of ODA 151, Trujillo served as the detachment senior medical sergeant, deployed to the Pacific Rim, attended Special Operations Training (SOT), and participated in numerous military training exercises.
In 1986, after two years on his Special Forces detachment, Staff Sergeant Trujillo reenlisted to attend the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio of San Francisco, and the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
Upon graduation, Trujillo added the Army linguist designation and the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Sergeant to his list of qualifications. He now had three Special Forces specialties: 18C, 18D, and 18F.
While at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Trujillo applied for one of fifteen US Army ROTC Scholarships awarded Army-wide. Staff Sergeant Trujillo was selected, and by the Summer of 1987, he was separating from the US Army to return to academia.
After a year, he returned to the University of Colorado at Boulder, participating in ROTC, and majoring in political science and Latin American sub-national violence.
Rather than return to active duty with the US Army, Trujillo sought a reserve commission and was recruited by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1990.
DEA SNOWCAP teams accompanied and advised their Peruvian Drug Police counterparts during counter-narcotics operations throughout the Upper Huallaga Valley. The SNOWCAP teams and their counterparts were often in harm's way.
In 1992, Trujillo wrote about his experiences in the Upper Huallage Valley in two articles published on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. "Cocaine and Corruption in Peru" appeared on April 7, 1992, followed by "Peru's Maoist Drug Dealers" on April 8, 1992.
As a reserve officer, Trujillo returned to active duty with the US Army in 1992. While assigned to the US Army Infantry School, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. After returning to inactive status in 1994, Trujillo was promoted to Captain in 1996.
In subsequent years, Trujillo worked as a contractor for the US Government, and also penned a highly personal memoir of his experiences in Grenada titled, URGENT FURY: Learning the Language of Nightmares, which he self-published on an anonymous blog in 2004.
Producers creating television content for the Discovery Channel stumbled upon the account in 2006, and interviewed Trujillo and other Rangers for an episode titled Combat Zone: Invasion of Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury, 1983).