Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Zachary B. Tomczak

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Zachary B. Tomczak, 24, of Huron, S.D.

SSgt. Tomczak was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 25, 2007 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.

Huron Plainsman— Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Tomczak was killed Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in Baghdad, Iraq.

He becomes the second Huron soldier to die in Iraq. The other was Army Spc. Daniel D. Bartels, 22, who died Oct. 19, 2005. Two other service members from the Huron area who died in Iraq and Kuwait were Chief Warrant Officer Scott Saboe, 33, of Willow Lake (2003) and Pfc. Gunnar D. Becker, 19, of Forestburg (2005).

Tomczak, 24, a 2002 graduate of Huron High School, died at 5:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday in Baghdad.

He was a combat infantryman and squad leader with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment (AIR), 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

The soldier’s father, Blaise Tomczak, said the Army was flying his son’s body to Dover, Md., Thursday.

He said the Army will conduct an autopsy there before bringing him to Huron for the funeral and burial. Funeral arrangements will be under the direction of Welter Funeral Home.

Tomczak said his son played football and was on the wrestling team when he attended high school. He also “loved to hunt and fish,” his father said.

While in high school, he was a member of the Holy Trinity Life Team with his stepsister, Megan McGillvrey, a graduate student at Moorhead (Minn.) State University.

He also was employed at Coborn’s and Matt Busch Construction Co.

“He was just a phenomenal person,” his father said. His son was on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq.

“As far as the military, he took that very serious,” he said. “He didn’t talk too much about things, but you could tell he was pretty serious about it.”

Coborn’s manager Kevin Scheel said Tomczak worked for him as a carport bagger in 2000.

“He was a quiet kid,” he said. “I certainly didn’t have any problems with him.”

Scheel said he always showed up for work on time.

Gov. Mike Rounds said, “We join family and fellow South Dakotans in mourning the tragic loss of this outstanding soldier and warrior.

“It is with great honor and respect for all our men and women in uniform that we acknowledge the importance of the service and sacrifice they make every day to protect and guard our freedom.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., joined in commenting on Tomczak’s untimely death.

At his Wednesday morning press conference, he said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family, and I am very humbled by his sacrifice.”

Tomczak is the 22nd serviceman from South Dakota or serving with a South Dakota National Guard unit to have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since spring 2003.

Tomczak joined the Army in June 2002. He completed Infantry One Station Unit Training in September 2002, the Basic Airborne Course in November 2002, and Ranger School in 2007 at Fort Benning, Ga.

He arrived at the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., in November 2002 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th AIR as a machine gunner.

Tomczak had three previous deployments with 2nd Battalion, 325th AIR in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He had returned to Iraq on June 10.

Tomczak’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with two clasps, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with the No. 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

His mother, Mary Flowers, lives in Sioux Falls.

Tomczak’s wife, Beth, 22, is from West Virginia. She currently resides in Fayetteville, N.C.

According to the soldier’s stepmother, Jackie Tomczak, Beth is working on funeral arrangements from her end and will coordinate with the family in Huron.

Along with his wife, parents and stepmother, he is survived by Megan McGillvrey of Moorhead, Minn., stepsister; Andrea Flowers, half-sister; Tatum Tomczak, half-sister of Huron; Siera Tomczak of Huron, a sister; and Nathan Tomczak of Huron, brother.

His unit will hold a memorial service in Iraq.

Army Staff Sgt. Zachary B. Tomczak was killed in action on 9/25/07.

1 comment:

Jewelz said...

I'm so sorry Zach.