Army Sgt. Anthony A. Paci
Died March 04, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
30, of Rockville, Md.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died March 4 in Gereshk, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered during a vehicle rollover.
(The following was taken from www.gazette.net of March 10, 2010) A soldier who grew up in Bethesda and lived at one point in Rockville died in Afghanistan last week during his second overseas deployment, according to a statement from the Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, Wash.
Spc. Anthony A. Paci, 30, died Thursday when the vehicle he was traveling in rolled over in Gereshk, located in the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, according to the statement. He grew up in Bethesda and was living in Rockville when he enlisted in the Army in October 2004.
Paci was deployed in Iraq from December 2005 through November 2006, according to the statement. His brigade left for Afghanistan in July.
An international coalition of 15,000 troops launched Operation Moshtarak last month in a region of the Helmand Province known for heroin production where the Taliban has set up a shadow government, according to media reports.
Paci met his wife Erica online in a military chat room while deployed in Iraq and the pair got married two days after he returned to the U.S., said his mother Helene Paci of Bethesda. They have three children in Washington— Judah, 2, Tallulah, 1, and Mila, 3 months.
"They knew before they had even seen each other in person that they wanted to get married. They were two peas in a pod, soul mates," Helene Paci said. "...I'm so thankful Tony had that in his life. It was a short life but a full life."
Anthony Paci attended Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda but withdrew in 1997, according to Kate Harrison, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman. He earned a high school diploma in 1999, according to the statement.
Paci withdrew from school in May of his senior year and later earned a General Equivalency Diploma, Helene Paci said. While at school, Anthony Paci enjoyed art, played junior varsity football and helped with set design and lighting at school plays. As an adult he enjoyed spending time with his family and being outdoors, riding motorcycles and bicycles and canoeing.
"School wasn't really his favorite subject. He was kind of a quiet kid, always nice and pleasant, one of those kids who don't stand out one way or another," said his high school counselor Joe Mornini. "A lot of these kids who aren't stars in school become stars later on, and that's what Tony did."
Helene Paci and her husband Leo Paci were apprehensive when their son first told them he had enlisted in the military. He had become friends with Marines who frequented the restaurant he worked at and admired their camaraderie.
"We were also very proud. His reasons were all the right reasons," she said. "To the day he died he was glad about his decision. He loved his job, he loved the Army and he loved serving his country. He just didn't like leaving his family."
Anthony Paci's 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 National Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge and Expert Infantry Badge, according to the statement.
(He has been posthumously promoted to Sgt.)