Medal of Honor Ceremony
Celiz is survived by his spouse, Katie Celiz, and their daughter.On December 16, 2021 Celiz was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions of valor during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel where he was serving as a battalion mortar platoon sergeant with Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in Afghanistan. On July 12, 2018, Celiz paid the ultimate sacrifice by using his body to shield his team while undergoing an attack. Celiz was praised for his courage against impassable odds by the President at the White House where his family accepted this amazing honor on his behalf. Celiz is survived by his spouse, Katie Celiz, and their daughter.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz, 32, was killed on July 12, 2018 while conducting combat operations in Paktiya province, Afghanistan. Celiz was wounded by enemy small arms fire; he was treated immediately and medically evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility where he died of his wounds.
He was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
A native of Summerville, South Carolina, Celiz was born January 12, 1986 in South Carolina, enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 2007. He completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training as a combat engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
His first assignment was with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 7th Calvary Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas as a combat engineer and team leader. Following this assignment, Celiz was transferred to Company C, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, also at Fort Hood, as a team leader.
A follow-on assignment was with the 530th Engineer Clearance Company, 92nd Engineer Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he served as a Sapper squad leader and platoon sergeant.
In 2013, Celiz was selected to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a combat engineer. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia where he served as the battalion master breacher and engineer. In March 2017, he was assigned to Company D where he served as the mortar platoon sergeant.
At the time of his death, Celiz was serving as the battalion mortar platoon sergeant and was in the process of reclassifying to the Infantry branch.
Celiz deployed from 2008 to 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and from 2011 to 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was on his fifth deployment with 1st Bn., 75th Rgr. Rgt., when he was killed.
Celiz’s military education includes the Infantry Mortar Leader Course, Senior, Advanced and Basic Leader Courses, Jumpmaster Course, Sapper Leader Course, Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 2, Basic Airborne Course, U.S. Army Ranger Course, Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course-Sapper and the Combat Lifesaver Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Sapper Tab, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge Expert-Rifle.
Celiz has also been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, five Army Achievement Medals, two Meritorious Unit Citation Medals, three Afghanistan Campaign Medals with Campaign Star, two Iraq Campaign Medals with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal. He is posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.
As a Ranger, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz selflessly lived his life for others and distinguished himself as a member of the Army’s premier direction action raid force and fought valiantly as he served his fellow Rangers and our great Nation.
Celiz is survived by his spouse, Katie Celiz, and their daughter.
-Rangers Lead the Way!-