Thursday, March 04, 2010

Army Spc. Anthony A. Paci

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Anthony A. Paci, 30, of Rockville, Md.

Spc. Paci was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died March 4, 2010 in Gereshk, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered during a vehicle rollover.Lewis soldier dies in Afghanistan rollover

The Associated Press
ROCKVILLE, Md. — The Department of Defense said March 6 that a soldier died in Afghanistan earlier that week.

Spc. Anthony A. Paci, 30, of Rockville died March 4 in Afghanistan of injuries suffered during a vehicle rollover. Paci was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Paci enlisted in October 2004. He deployed to Iraq from December 2005 to November 2006. Afghanistan was his second deployment.

The father of a Rockville man who died in Afghanistan says his son was trying to save innocent lives moments before his death Thursday. Spc. Anthony A. Paci, 30, was killed when the military vehicle he was in rolled over in Gereshk, Afghanistan. Leo Paci tells News4 his son was trying to avoid a family of civilians at the time of the crash. Spc. Paci asked the driver to swerve when he saw the family, his father said.

His mother-in-law and father-in-law remembered him yesterday as a charming dad who made the ultimate sacrifice. “He was such a great guy. I couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law,” said Kathleen Severino, 58. “He was such a great dad. Macho Army guy, but loving and caring and changing diapers.”

“He died a hero,” added Paci’s father-in-law, Pasquale Severino, 59, himself a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam.

The 30-year-old Paci died Thursday when his tank rolled over as the upper half of his body was outside the vehicle, according to Kathleen Severino, who said military officials told her that Paci ordered the tank’s driver to take “evasive action” to avoid running over a group of Afghan civilians.

No civilians were hurt, but the rollover injured two soldiers in addition to killing Paci, according to Kathleen Severino, whose daughter, 31-year-old Erica O’Beirne Paci, is now without a husband. The Pacis, who married in 2006, had three young children.

“She’s completely devastated,” Severino said of her widowed daughter. “It was heartbreaking to see her on Friday (when Paci’s body arrived at Dover Air Force Base in a U.S. flag-draped casket). She would say, ‘It’s not really happening, Mom.’”

Erica Paci bought her husband a motorcycle last week, a gift that he was looking forward to receiving. He was slated to come back to the United States in June, according to Severino. She also recently bought furniture and other items to deck out a military house that’s located on the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington.

Erica Paci yesterday was grieving at the Lewis-McChord base with the close relatives of her late husband. She couldn’t be reached for comment, but Kathleen Severino said her daughter is being well taken care of by the military.

When serving, Paci talked to his wife every day despite the 12-hour time difference. He would call his wife at 7 a.m. his time, which was 7 p.m. for Erica Paci, who grew up in Pennsauken, Camden County. She talked to her husband about three hours before he died, according to Severino.

“I’m reminding her she is strong and she’ll get through this,” Severino said of her widowed daughter. “My pain is for Erica and for those babies.”

Spc. Paci grew up in Bethesda, Md. and graduated from Whitman High School. He lived in Rockville as an adult. Paci’s service in Afghanistan was his second deployment. In December 2005, he spent about 11 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Paci’s mother, Helene Paci, tells News4 her son is her “brave American soldier”. His father calls him simply, “a great guy”.

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge.

In addition to his parents and in-laws, Spc. Anthony Paci leaves behind his wife, Erica O’Beirne Paci. He is also survived by his 2½-year-old son Judah and his daughters, Tallulah, 1½, and 3-month-old Mila. He was last in the United States in December 2009 for Christmas and got to see his youngest child when she was 2 weeks old, according to his mother-in-law.

Army Spc. Anthony A. Paci was killed in a vehicle rollover on 3/4/10.

1 comment:

Roger said...

Rest In Peace Hero, A Grateful Nation Salutes You, Welcome Home

A Vietnam Vet