Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Army Spc. Steven E. Gutowski

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Steven E. Gutowski, 24, of Plymouth, Mass.

Spc Gutowski was assigned to 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died Sept. 28, 2011 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Spc Gutowski graduated from Plymouth North High School in 2005, where he played several sports including football and track. He attended Cape Cod Community College before deciding to join the US Army in December 2008.

He was the middle child of three children, with two sisters. His mother, Joan, said she would always joke that he was her favorite son.

“We actually put that in his yearbook,” she said, recalling the woman’s reaction before she explained that he was her only son.

Deployed since February, Spc Gutowski had recently made a trip home on leave in August for his sister’s wedding, after another soldier switched leaves with him, mother Joan said.

“He lived for his family,” his mother said. “He couldn’t wait to come home and just sit and be with us.”

Uncle, Bob Gutowski, said his nephew had survived two other explosions near his vehicle while in Afghanistan. He described his nephew as a "guy who loved life and always stood up for what's right."

Sister, Cheryl, 27, said her brother was looking forward to coming home and was starting to seriously consider becoming a police officer. He was looking into taking the Civil Service exams upon his return to the US next spring. But if that did not work out, he wanted to return to working with youth, as he did for the recreation center in Plymouth prior to leaving for Afghanistan.

“Everybody is seriously feeling a hole in their soul with this loss, nobody can believe it,” said Cheryl.

Sister Cheryl’s mother in-law, Pamela Chamallas, said, “He was a sincere young man, full of energy. I really think that at 24, he had his idea of where he wanted to go in life. He was full of energy and ideas. It was exciting to see him mature. I think the service had really done good things for him.”

“Before he went into the Army, he was doing a lot of soul searching. The Army really seemed to help him," she said.

Spc Gutowski's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Action Badge

Spc Gutowski is survived by parents, Joan and Edward; and sisters, Cheryl and Karen.

Army Spc. Steven E. Gutowski was killed in action on 9/28/11.

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