U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, awarded a Bronze Star on Monday to Capt. Gabriel G. Surratt at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall.
Surratt said he was honored to be able to serve with a special forces unit, and thankful his unit sustained no casualties during its “village stability” operations.
“I am grateful to receive such this prestigious award, and really I want to thank the men I served with,” the Castaic resident said. “The way they were able to effectively complete their mission without any casualties. That’s a very rare occurrence, and we’re extremely fortunate.”
Surratt earned the medal for exceptional meritorious service from March 1, 2011, to Oct. 2, 2012, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, McKeon said.
U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon
“His was a unit citation because they were in tough duty the whole time out there,” McKeon said. “He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan. He was embedded with a special ops unit on the eastern border, it was some pretty tough duty for 11 months.”
Surratt also was promoted to the rank of captain. He has been a member of the Army Reserves for more than five years.
The 30-year-old Surratt served on a combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan, and also served a separate one-year tour as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Surratt also worked as a member of the House Armed Services Committee staff that puts together the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the military’s budget each year.
McKeon is the chairman of the HASC, which is how he met Surratt, he said.
Bronze Star recipient Capt. Gabe Surratt stops for a photo with Fred Arnold, chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce. (SCVTV)