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Major General Gary L. Harrell is a retired United States Army general. He has participated in numerous combat operations, such as; Operation Just Cause in 1989, Battle of Mogadishu 1993, and since 2001 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gary L. Harrell
Major General Gary Harrell.jpg
Gary L. Harrell
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1973–2008
RankArmy-USA-OF-07.svg Major General
Commands heldDelta Force
Special Forces Task Force Bowie
Assistant Division Commander for the 10th Mountain Division
Deputy Commanding General of the Army Special Operations Command
Commanding General, SOCCENT
Battles/warsthe Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Acid Gambit
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
Battle of Mogadishu
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)

Military careerEdit

Harrell earned his commission as an Infantry officer through East Tennessee State University's Army ROTC program in 1973 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, as a Rifle platoon leader and AS Anti-Tank platoon leader. In 1977, after completing the Special Forces Qualification Course, he was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group. In 1980 Harrell served as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Harrell participated in the invasion of Grenada and afterwards served with the 10th Special Forces Group. In 1985 Harrell completed a specialized selection course and was assigned to the prestigious 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, publicly known as Delta Force at Fort Bragg where he served as Troop Commander and participated in Operation Just Cause. Later on Harrell was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command as operations officer and participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.[1]

In 1992, he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and took command of a Squadron of Delta Force and participated in combat operations during Battle of Mogadishu. In October 1993 he was severely wounded by enemy mortar fire. After graduating from the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania in June 1995, Harrell was assigned as the Deputy Commander of Delta Force and commanded the unit from July 1998 to July 2000.[2] Afterwords he was appointed as the Director, Joint Security Directorate, U.S. Central Command from 2000 to 2002. During the Afghanistan he commanded Special Forces Task Force Bowie and was the Assistant Division Commander for the 10th Mountain Division during Operation Anaconda. From 2003 to 2005 Harrell was assigned as commanding general, Special Operations Command Central. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Harrell commanded a special operations forces that were responsible for combat operations to prevent Scud missiles from being launched from Western Iraq and for stability operations in Northern Iraq. His last served as the Deputy Commanding General of the Army Special Operations Command. He retired in 2008.


His awards include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Combat Parachutist Badge with bronze jump star, Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge, Special Forces tab, US Army Special Forces Diver Badge, Ranger tab, Pathfinder Badge, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, just to name a few. He fought in Panama, Somalia, Southwest Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan.


  • Boykin, William G., and Lynn Vincent. Never Surrender: a Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom. Faith Words, 2011. ISBN 978-0446583220
  • Tucker, Spencer. The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: the United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts. ABC-CLIO, 2010. ISBN 978-1851099474