Federal and state recognition of the courageous actions of Sgt. 1st Class David Gallagher, the Nevada Army Guard Soldier killed in a training accident at Fort Irwin, Calif., on June 4 is accumulating in the form of posthumous awards and decorations as memorial plans for the deceased armor crewman are finalized. Gallagher, 51, of Las Vegas was a staff sergeant at the time of the accident and has been posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant first class.
Gallagher of D Troop, 1/221st Cavalry, was killed in a training accident at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin when his M1A1 Abrams main battle tank was involved in a rollover accident. Initial accounts of the June 4 incident state Gallagher reacted quickly during the incident and he likely prevented another soldier from being ejected from the tank as he extended himself outside the tank to push an exposed soldier below the tank’s turret hatch.
For his selfless action, Gallagher has been awarded the Nevada Medal of Valor, the preeminent state military award for Nevada guardsmen. The award is reserved for soldiers and airmen who distinguish themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty.
“Sgt. 1st Class Gallagher is a hero. That word is used a lot these days, but he is truly a hero,” said Nevada Army Guard Chief of Staff Col. Cory Schulz. “In that unforgiving moment, he chose to act in a manner not to save himself, but so others would live. As we mourn his death, we should also celebrate the fact that a man and soldier of his caliber, honor and dedication lived.”
Additionally, for his outstanding overall military service from June 2009 to June 2019, Gallagher has been awarded the U.S. Army’s Meritorious Service Medal. He also has been awarded two separate Army Reserve Component Achievement medals for “exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity” for service between 2012 and 2015 and between 2015 and 2018, respectively.
Col. Michael Peyerl, the Nevada Army Guard’s deputy chief of staff for Army personnel, said last week that Gallagher also will be nominated for the Soldier’s Medal. The Soldier’s Medal can be awarded to any person in the armed forces of the United States or its allies who, while serving in any capacity of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism not involving conflict with an enemy.
If approved, the actual award of the Soldier’s Medal for Gallagher could take several weeks.
Gallagher’s previously awarded decorations include the Combat Action Badge, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.