William “Chief” Carlson - Tomahawk Medal

The Greer Foundation presents this special award to individuals who exemplify the characteristics of Master Sergeant William "Chief" Carlson – fearlessness, mental and physical toughness, and dedication to his mates.

Greer had the distinct honor of serving with Chief in the same Ranger platoon. They were squad leaders together in C Co, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and formed a lasting friendship. Chief was an expert at tactics, weapons, navigation, parachuting, and scuba diving. Moreover, he was a quiet professional always willing to go the extra mile to help his fellow Rangers. Chief left the Rangers in 1988 and joined Special Forces serving with distinction in 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, Japan. After several years on an Operational Detachment, Chief was selected to serve in 1st Special Operations Detachment - Delta. While a member of Delta Force, Chief distinguished himself among the Army's most professional warriors and was called upon to hunt for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan immediately following 9/11.

In 2003, Chief retired from the US Army. Chief had every right to retire peacefully and enjoy his family. Instead, a deep sense of duty and patriotism called him to return to the same unforgiving mountains of Afghanistan to hunt Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network. Chief died doing what he loved and what his nation trained him to do. Chief was killed in action by terrorists on October 25, 2003. He was serving as a member of a joint Central Intelligence Agency/Special Operations clandestine operations team tasked with tracking those responsible for 9/11.

Before joining the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency, Chief served the nation for more than 20 years in the United States Army. His impeccable service as an Airborne Ranger, Green Beret, and Delta Force operator marked Chief as a genuine irreplaceable warrior. Those who were privileged to serve with Chief knew he was one of a kind.

Chief’s real name was Isinamakan (Ee-seen-ah-MAH-kan): it means Takes Rifle Ahead. A descendent of the nomadic Blackfeet Indians, fierce warriors and masters at hunting the enormous buffalo, Chief’s skill and courage as a modern day warrior mirrors that of his proud ancestors. Chief was a living legacy in the special operations community and is survived by a loving wife and two sons.

In the summer of 2010 his teenage son Shayne set out on a 10-week, 2879 mile trek riding a skateboard (Long board). Starting on the boardwalk at Virginia Beach, VA he rode coast to coast ending at Venice Beach, CA to honor his father and raise money for special operations families.

In 2005, the foundation established this award to honor Chief's sacrifice, selfless service, and warrior spirit. 

100 first edition "legacy" medals were presented between 2005 - 2012. These were draped with a red/black ribbon and were 1 1/2".  In 2012, the foundation redesigned the medal to a custom 2" medal draped from a custom camouflaged neck ribbon.

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