Special Operations News

SF Soldier Dies Trying to Rescue Daughters

FORT BRAGG, NC – A Special Forces Soldier from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) was killed in a house fire at his home in Hope Mills, N.C., March 6.

Chief Warrant Officer Two Edward Cantrell, 36, died while trying to rescue his two daughters – ages six and four- after their home caught fire during the night. Cantrell’s wife survived the fire.

Cantrell, a Green Beret, was the Assistant Detachment Commander for an Operational Detachment-Alpha in 3rd Battalion. ODAs, also known as “A-Teams,” are the cornerstone of Special Forces.

Cantrell was born in Dyersburg, Tenn., and joined the Army in 1994 as a military policeman. He served in 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Howze, Korea, and then the 503rd Military Police Battalion, at Fort Bragg, N.C. where he deployed in support of Operation Joint Endeavor to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He later served with the Southern European Task Force in Vicenza, Italy.

In 2004, Cantrell graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), serving as a Communications and Intelligence Sergeant on four combat deployments.

Cantrell attended the Warrant Officer Candidate Course followed by the Special Forces Warrant Officer Basic Course in 2009 and was then assigned to another ODA as the assistant detachment commander.

Cantrell completed six total combat deployments: one to Iraq and five to Afghanistan. He returned home from his most recent combat tour supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in August 2011.

Cantrell’s awards and decorations include four Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor device, four Army Commendation Medals, 11 Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with one star, Kosovo Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, six Overseas Service Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist’s Badge and the Air Assault Badge. He was also the recipient of the Bruce E. Price Leadership Award.

Cantrell is survived by his wife, son, and parents.

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