U.S. Army’s Premier Engineer Award Presented Posthumously to Medal of Honor Recipient

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz was posthumously presented the Gold Order of the de Fleury Medal, the highest honor in the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment, during a ceremony today in Savannah, Georgia.

Celiz, a Medal of Honor recipient and native of Summerville, South Carolina, was selected for the Gold de Fleury in recognition of service and sacrifice as a U.S. Army combat engineer and noncommissioned officer.

The ceremony was hosted by Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and USACE Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Galick, and attended by family, friends and comrades of Celiz. His wife, Katie Celiz, and daughter Shannon accepted the award on his behalf.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz was posthumously presented the Gold Order of the de Fleury Medal, the highest honor in the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment, during a ceremony May 17, 2024 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo illustration)

“It is my solemn honor to commemorate the life and courageous service of Sergeant First Class Christopher Andrew Celiz by presenting you with the Gold de Fleury Medal,” Spellmon said to the Celiz family during the ceremony. “This is a testament to his exemplary service and profound impact on the U.S. Army and the Engineer Regiment…He was a dedicated Soldier who embodied all the traits of a Soldier, Leader, and Humanitarian. He was a superb example for all ranks – officer and enlisted. He epitomized leadership – and service before self.”

Celiz enlisted in the Army in 2008 and served over 10 years in various roles of increasing responsibility, including multiple combat deployments overseas. He was serving in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, leading a special operations unit when he was mortally wounded on July 12, 2018, while protecting a medical evacuation aircraft from enemy fire, saving the lives of U.S. and partnered forces in the process.

“This de Fleury Medal isn’t about how Chris died. It is given as a testament to how he lived,” Spellmon said. “And it is a recognition of all the lives he saved while doing his duty. He embodied his motto, ‘push forward, never go back.’”

USACE Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Galick delivers remarks during the ceremony honoring Sgt. 1st Class Christopher A. Celiz. U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY MICHAEL J. ARIOLA

The Gold de Fleury is awarded annually to an individual inside the Engineer Regiment whose contributions to USACE and the Engineer Regiment exemplify boldness, courage and commitment to strong national defense.

The Order of the de Fleury was established in 1779 in honor of Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury, a French engineer, who volunteered to serve during the American Revolution. There are four different levels of the award: steel, bronze, silver and gold, with gold being the most prestigious.

Further information about Celiz’s service and sacrifice may be found on his Medal Of Honor page, at www.army.mil/medalofhonor/celiz/. A video on the history of the de Fleury Medal is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJUC1rxR174

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