Anthony Americo Paci
Sergeant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 177-10
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom/
Sergeant Anthony A. Paci, 30, of Rockville, Maryand, died March 4, 2010, at Gereshk, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered during a vehicle rollover. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
For more information the media may contact the Joint Base Lewis-McChord public affairs office at 253-967-0147/ 0152, or after duty hours at 253-967-0015.
18 March 2010:
Sergeant's father notes 'time to cry'Lewis-McChord:
Memorial takes its theme from Book of Ecclesiastes
Sergeant Anthony A. Paci was a dedicated soldier, a veteran of two wars and a lover of fast cars.
But, friends said, above all else Paci was proud to be the father of three children and shared his dreams of a big family.
“He was always happy when he was talking about his children,” said Paci’s friend, Specialist Eric Tapia. “Even though Sgt. Paci just had a third child in November, he always spoke of having one more so the Paci family could be complete.”
Then the war in Afghanistan intervened.
Paci, a 30-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, died March 4, 2010, in a vehicle rollover in Gereshk, Helmand province. The Rockville, Maryland, native was serving with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Paci’s family told The Washington Post he was riding in a hatch of a Stryker when he yelled for his driver to swerve to avoid hitting an oncoming passenger car.
The vehicle rolled, killing Paci and handing his unit – the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment – its 22nd fatality of the war.
Friends and comrades gathered Wednesday at Lewis-McChord to honor Paci, who is survived by his wife, Erica, and his children: 21/2-year-old Judah, 11/2-year-old Tallulah and 3-month-old Mila.
He met his wife on the Internet while he was deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 and told friends that leaving his family behind for his second combat tour was difficult.
His commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Neumann, said during another memorial service Friday in Afghanistan that Paci exemplified a professional soldier – “a professional who swore an oath to protect his nation during a time of war, and backed up that declaration with combat service not once, but in two theaters of this conflict against global terrorism.”
Chaplain Captain Ronaldo Silva quoted Wednesday from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which contains one of the most recognized passages of the Old Testament: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Paci’s father, Leo Paci, approached the microphone after the service ended and delivered an impromptu message to the hundreds gathered at the chapel – a rare event at on-base memorial services.
He, too, echoed the Bible verse: “I was riding with my son Marco today and I told him, ‘There are always two things: the good and the bad. A time to cry, a time to laugh.’”
“So,” Leo Paci continued after a pause, “God is with us. And God bless you.”
19 March 2010:
A Bethesda soldier 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, Washington.
Sergeant 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.
The late U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Paci, a family man who had deep ties to Hamilton, will be buried today at Arlington National Cemetery exactly three weeks after he was killed in Afghanistan.
“I’m actually looking forward to the whole pomp and circumstance thing they are gonna do for him because I’m sure it’s going to be impressive,” Paci’s mother-in-law, Kathleen Severino of Hamilton, said yesterday from a hotel in Washington, D.C.
Paci died March 4 at the age of 30 when his Stryker tank overturned in the rugged terrain of wartorn Afghanistan. He was posthumously promoted from specialist to sergeant.
Described as a “hero” by his in-laws in Hamilton, Paci is survived by his wife, 31-year-old Erica O’Beirne Paci, and their three children, 2½-year-old son Judah and daughters Tallulah, 1½, and 3-month-old Mila.
“It just doesn’t seem fair. He was such a great guy,” Severino said of her son-in-law. “You look at these three beautiful babies, and it just breaks your heart realizing what they lost. What we lost.”
Paci’s funeral service begins at 10 a.m. at the Pumphrey Funeral Home in his hometown of Bethesda, Md. At 1 p.m. he’ll be buried 10 miles away at the Virginia-based National Cemetary.
PACI, ANTHONY AMERICO
Posted: 25 March 2010 Updated: 7 April 2010 Updated: 2 June 2010
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, May 2010
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, April 2010