Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

Arizona Hero SSG Gallegos Honored in McSally NDAA Amendment

May 23, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ), joined by Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND), today successfully offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment grants a waiver of time limitations so the Distinguished Service Cross can be awarded to Staff Sergeant Justin Gallegos, a soldier from Tucson who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the U.S. Army for extreme gallantry in combat with an armed enemy force. Staff Sgt. Gallegos selflessly gave his life and has not yet been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross.  

“SSG Gallegos bravely fought and gave his life in service to our country and his fellow soldiers. He embodies what the Distinguished Service Cross stands to honor. He is worthy of this distinction, and we are indebted to this Arizonan hero for his striking courage and sacrifice. My amendment ensures he receives this long overdue recognition,” said Congresswoman McSally, who has been deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Clint Romesha is a Medal of Honor recipient who fought alongside Staff SSG Gallegos in Afghanistan. “The battle in which Staff SSG Gallegos fought and perished took place on October 3, 2009, and the heroics that he performed in combat were critical both to the successful defense of Combat Outpost Keating and the survival of all but eight members of Black Knight Troop,” said Romesha. 


Romesha added, “For almost a decade, the men who fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Staff Sgt. Gallegos, along with his wife, son, and members of his extended family, have all been patiently waiting for the Army to properly honor his sacrifice. I welcome this amendment and the commemoration made possible by it as an important final step in memorializing one of the finest soldiers, as well one of the bravest human beings, with whom I've ever had the honor to serve.”  

“SSG. Gallegos is a hero to our country,” said Rep. Cramer. “Through our deep gratitude for our armed forces, the Distinguished Service Cross stands to commemorate and honor the sacrifice made by our troops. I am pleased to work alongside Rep. McSally to recognize Sgt. Gallegos through this amendment and I hope the Senate quickly follows.”    


Later this week the House will vote on the final passage of H.R. 5515. The Congresswoman will work with Senator McCain to ensure this amendment’s passage in the Senate as well.