Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Borja grew up in a strong military family. Relatives who were Airborne Rangers not-so-gently motivated him to enlist, but the idea of jumping out of airplanes, rappelling, learning tier-one tactics,and serving alongside some of the world’s most lethal warriors also helped.
After basic and Advanced Individual Training as a light infantryman, Borja completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program and joined the illustrious 75th Ranger Regiment. He said Special Operations training is unique and not for the faint of heart. Rangers train for any weather and all terrains to do quick-strike, in-and-out, one-of-a-kind operations. Borja often reminded his soldiers, “The more you sweat and sacrifice in peace, the less you’ll bleed and regret in war.”
Borja, a Master Parachutist, made his first low-altitude jump in October 1983 into Grenada. Operation Urgent Fury, despite tumultuous communications, was over quickly. His second jump was into Panama in December 1989, as part of Operation Just Cause. While clearing dictator Manuel Noriega’s headquarters, Borja was “shot up, blown up,and evacuated out,” earning a Purple Heart. Borja would later deploy to Afghanistan twice, earning a Bronze Star during one of those tours.
Borja steadily climbed the ranks, taking on difficult jobs with more responsibility. He served as a Ranger Instructor, Sergeant Major at multiple battalions, Brigade Command Sergeant Major with the 10th Mountain Division, and Command Sergeant Major CSM at the U.S.Army Space and Missile Defense Command, a core-equivalent command. Less than 1% of non-commissioned officers become a Command Sergeant Major. Borja is proud to have earned the rank, and he honors the trust placed in him by both soldiers and officers alike.
With a career spanning more than 31 years, Borja has many awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, and Legion of Merit. Borja did four combat tours—–Grenada, Panama, and two in Afghanistan—–earning his Combat Infantry Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge with two combat jumps; an honor rarely seen.
CSM Borja married Nguyet, his high school sweetheart, and they have raised their children to carry on with the military family tradition for another generation. “I’ve stayed the course andif I had deviated to a different MOS [military occupational specialty] my life would not have been the same,” Borja said. “I have no regrets.”