DOD Identifies Navy Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Petty Officer 1st Class Chad R. Regelin, 24, of Cottonwood, Calif., died Jan. 2 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Regelin was assigned as an explosive ordnance disposal technician to Marine Special Operations Company Bravo. Regelin was stationed at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, San Diego, Calif.
For further information related to this release, contact Lt. David Bennett at 619-767-1989 or 619-405-4020.
USO sailor of year killed in Afghanistan
When Navy bomb disposal technician Chad Regelin was named 2011 USO sailor of the year, he couldn’t make it to the October gala in Washington, D.C.
He was in Afghanistan, standing in for a wounded bomb technician.
That job took his life Monday. Regelin, a 24-year-old sailor assigned to a San Diego unit, was killed during combat operations with a Marine Corps special operations company in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced.
His brother Ryan said the sailor was on foot patrol when an explosion occurred. Regelin went to check it out and a second bomb, detonated via a wire, went off.
A Navy spokesman confirmed that the explosives technician was killed by a improvised bomb while on patrol but couldn’t discuss the details.
Regelin grew up in Anderson, a Northern California town of 10,000 people. His brother said that for a small-town guy, the sailor grew to love San Diego, and surfing.
But, mostly, he loved his job. So much so, the bomb technician thought it wasn’t fair to date; he was deployed too often. Days before the accident, Regelin had reenlisted for another six years, his brother said.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3’s then-command master chief said in October that Regelin was one of the group’s top performers.
“He exemplifies the EOD warrior in all facets during combat operations and at home. Regelin is easily the most selfless EOD technician at my command,” Master Chief Lee Morrison wrote in an email.
“Every chief petty officer and team member would be proud to serve with such a warrior.”
Morrison attended the Oct. 6 USO gala with Regelin’s parents, Scott and Shirene, to accept the sailor’s award. The crowd stood and cheered when it was announced that Regelin agreed to take a wounded sailor’s place in the field, Morrison reported.
“He represents our bedrock principles — honor, courage and commitment,” he wrote.
Regelin was nominated for the USO award — which goes to a junior enlisted person for a specific act of bravery in the prior calendar year — for an earlier Afghanistan tour, from August 2010 to March 2011.
During that deployment, Regelin personally found and destroyed 24 roadside explosives, trained 13 people in bomb detection and took part in 20 firefights.
During a two-day stretch of intense fighting, the sailor stayed calm as the enemy attacked while he was in the process of disarming a 60-pound bomb. His cool head helped save the 10-person unit that he was leading.
The Navy nominated Regelin, a petty officer 1st class stationed at San Diego Naval Base, for the Bronze Star with V for the incident. The sailor’s commander called Regelin a star.
“His outstanding situational awareness and keen attention to detail in a combat environment undoubtedly saved the lives of his teammates,” Cmdr. Charles Andrews wrote in the USO nomination entry.
“His leadership and performance under fire far exceeded his pay grade.”
In an October email to U-T San Diego from Afghanistan, Regelin said he chose bomb disposal — a skill in high demand during the past decade — because he enjoys working with explosives and the “top-notch” people in the field.
The sailor enlisted in 2006 and deployed three times, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
Ryan Regelin said the sailor will be buried in a veterans cemetery in Redding following a memorial service in his hometown.