Christopher N. Riga
Colonel Christopher N. Riga enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 1987 following graduation from Columbia University and served as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division. In September 1991, Colonel Riga attended Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant upon Graduation from Officer Candidate School Class 01-92, 30 January 1992. His first duty assignment was Platoon Leader and Executive Officer, 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment. | In 1998, Colonel Riga graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (A). He served as a Detachment Commander and Assistant S-3 from 1998 to 2002. He then attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After graduating from CGSC, Colonel Riga returned to 3rd Special Forces Group (A). He served as the Bravo Company Commander and Operations Officer for 3rd Battalion from 2004 to 2006 and as the Group Operations Officer and CJSOTF Deputy J-3 from 2006 to 2007. Colonel Riga was then assigned to the United States Army Special Operations Command where he served as the D.C.S G3 Executive Officer and as the Assistant Chief of Staff. From August 2009 to July 2011, Colonel Riga served as the Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (A). During that time, he served as the Special Operations Task Force-South Commander, Kandahar, Afghanistan, from September 2010 to April 2011. Following command, Colonel Riga served as the Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Army from July 2011 to June 2012. | Colonel Riga graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Army War College Fellow. He was assigned as the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Commander in July of 2013 and served as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Commander - Afghanistan from November 2013 to August 2014. Colonel Riga has served in combat in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, multiple rotations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He also served with the Multi-national Force and Observers while assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, in Operation SAFEHAVEN while assigned to the Ranger Regiment, and Operation JOINT FORGE as a Detachment Commander. | Colonel Riga’s awards include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for Valor with three oak leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal for Valor with four oak leaf Clusters, and other achievement, service and foreign awards. He has earned the Combat Infantryman Badge (two awards), Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab and Special Forces Tab.