NSA Monograph

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From our nation’s inception, in times of war and peace, there have always been individuals who have had the courage and resolve to defend freedom under difficult circumstances. SSG Edwin DazaChacon was just such an individual.

Edwin at Three and a Half Years OldEdwin was born in 1968 in Colombia South America, thousands of miles away from the nation he would one day defend. Eight years earlier on a cold winter morning in 1960 an American president on his first day in office reminded all Americans, “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.”

In time Edwin DazaChacon would immigrate to America. From his earliest days he would exhibit an unquenchable desire to serve his country, and in due course would answer his adopted country’s call to the colors. His sister Jessica once noted that, “even when he was three or four years old, he was wearing an airborne hat. That was the man he was going to become.”

NSA-MonographclintonDuring the first Gulf War he would fight with the 82nd Airborne. As a paratrooper in the famous All American Division, he would serve with distinction and develop a host of lifelong friendships. Later he would participate in peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1997 he concluded his initial enlistment, entered civilian life, and joined the Army Reserve. He would remain a civilian until shortly after the attacks on our nation on the morning of September 11, 2001.

After the crucible of 9/11, Americans everywhere experienced a wide range of emotions and reactions. Edwin’s response to the attacks was to volunteer once again for active duty. As his sister noted, “He was going to do something instead of sitting back and criticizing.” Being a responsible, mature and constructive person was nothing new to DazaChacon. In 1996 when President Clinton had visited the troops in Bosnia many of his fellow soldiers had been less than anxious to greet the commander in chief,but Edwin told a Washington Post reporter, “It’s good to see the leader out here asking about our needs, that’s true whether the leader is the lieutenant or the president. And it’s especially important for very young soldiers

Edwin in GreensAnyone who serves in our nation’s armed forces is to be honored and admired. But it must be said that SSG Edwin DazaChacon was not just any soldier. He was a proud member of our nation’s special forces. Those who wear the Green Beret know that it serves as “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, and a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.” Snake Eaters as they are called are true specialists who have a deserved reputation for innovation, versatility and ingenuity in their work.

Like most Green Berets, Edwin had an array of talents. In addition to his infantry skills he was adept at helping his fellow  soldiers to win the equally important battle of providing and protecting critical information on the battlefront. Edwin provided critical language and cryptologic support to coalition troops in the region. Sometimes he was a translator. On other occasions, he was involved in helping those in harms way to better discern the threats against them. But in whatever capacity he served, his work was indispensable in securing victory and saving lives.

The book of Ecclesiastes notes that, “there is nothing new under the sun.” This is especially true in time of war. The motto of  the Green Berets is De Oppresso Liber – to free the oppressed. In the example he set every day, SSG Edwin DazaChacon more than lived up to this motto, first in Desert Storm, then in the Balkans, and in more recent times in Afghanistan.

NSA MonographOn his last day on this earth Edwin and three other servicemen were called upon to rescue a group of soldiers whose vehicle had overturned during a river crossing. On their way to the area, their Humvee hit a landmine and came under heavy enemy fire. All would perish in the ensuing firefight. For his bravery and courage that day, he would posthumously be awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

Edwin’s service and sacrifice for his nation both on that day and throughout his life would show that in his heart he understood the true meaning of what it means to be an American Soldier. To paraphrase President Kennedy, “In the long history of the world, only a few generations are granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.” SSG Edwin H. DazaChacon did not shrink from that responsibility—he welcomed it. And the energy, the faith, and the devotion which he brought to his endeavors will continue to inspire our country and all who serve it for generations to come.