Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 522-10
June 22, 2010
DOD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the
death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Corporal Timothy G. Serwinowski, 21,
of North Tonawanda, New York, died June 21, 2011, while supporting combat
operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd
Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary
Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
For additional background information on this
Marine, news media representatives may contact the II Marine Division public
affairs office at 910-450-6575.
August 20, 2010
Marine Lance Cpl. Timothy G. "Win" Serwinowski
looked forward to sitting down with his father later this summer and discussing
Late Sunday, those plans were cut short when
a sniper's bullet mortally wounded the 21-year-old from North Tonawanda
as he stepped out of a military vehicle while on patrol in Helmand province
in southern Afghanistan. Serwinowski lived for about an hour before he
was pronounced dead early Monday.
Family members said details of the attack
are limited, but they believe that after he was shot, a firefight broke
out; no other Marines were injured. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion,
6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"Tim was thinking of continuing his military
career, and he wanted to talk it over with me. He only had one month to
go before he came home," said a shattered Phillip Serwinowski, the fallen
Marine's father. "Tim loved life, and he was a good man. He could have
been an even better man if given the chance."
For months, Timothy Serwinowski's relatives
had been concerned not only for his safety but also for the safety of another
21-year-old in the family — his stepbrother, Airman 1st Class David Urban,
who had been serving in Iraq since September.
Urban's deployment to Iraq ended Saturday,
one day before Serwinowski was shot.
"He learned about the death in Kuwait," James
Urban said of his son, adding that he and his wife, Sally Urban, the mother
of Serwinowski, have flown the American flag in front of their North Tonawanda
home for both sons since they left.
This isn't the first time the tragedy of war
has hit home for the Serwinowski family.
Richard E. Serwinowski, a cousin of Phillip
Serwinowski, was killed in Vietnam in the 1960s.
Timothy Serwinowski, a 2007 graduate of North
Tonawanda High School, attended Niagara County Community College for a
year before enlisting in May 2008.
He never lost touch with his connections to
the high school. Before his deployment in December, he had stopped by the
Meadow Drive school to say goodbye.
"When I asked him, "Why the Marines?' he said,
"If you're going to do it, you go with the best,'" said Peter Fezer, his
11th-grade history teacher and 12th-grade economics teacher.
On that visit, Serwinowski also stopped by
the school library to view a wall of photographs featuring veterans and
current members of the armed forces.
Emily Serwinowski, his 17-year-old sister,
had brought his photograph in after librarian Catherine Duquin had asked
him for a picture.
"I know he was very proud to see that photograph
on the veterans' wall," Fezer said.
The teacher also recalled how, in the years
Serwinowski played football for the school team, the Lumberjacks, the 6-foot,
2-inch safety maintained a cheerful disposition and could be counted on
for an ever-present smile "even when he was bruised and beat up from football
When Serwinowski turned 21 in December, his
family and friends gathered at Pizza Junction in North Tonawanda for a
combination party to celebrate his birthday and upcoming deployment.
A photograph of Serwinowski at the party shows
him smiling and sitting in front of a birthday cake decorated with two
miniature American flags.
"Tim was a little nervous but wanted to leave
on a good note," said Alex Rivera, Serwinowski's 20-year-old stepbrother.
"I never thought this would happen. He wanted to serve his country."
And that he did, according to North Tonawanda
High School Principal James V. Fisher. "At this somber time we mourn the
great future potential that has been lost, but we will forever count Tim
as a model of selfless service to his country," Fisher said at a news conference
Tuesday afternoon in the school library.
During Serwinowski's senior year, the principal
added, he was honored by his football coaches for his "excellence and leadership"
when the Lumberjacks won the Niagara Frontier League's North Division Championship.
Outside the high school, the American flag
flew at half-staff as well as next door at Meadow Elementary School, where
Serwinowski's mother works as a teacher's aide. "I'd say to him, "Honey,
we worry about you,' and he'd say, "Mom, I'm with my family here.
I have their back, and they have my back,'"
Sally Urban said of conversations she had with her son during his deployment.
"I'd ask him if he had a shower, and he'd say, "I went in the canal.' I
said, "No, a shower?' He never had a shower over there."
True to form in putting the best face on his
circumstances, she said he would tell her, "Mom, the Vietnam, Korean and
World War II veterans had it so much worse."
When he was at home, she said that he was
constantly upbeat and that he loved it when she made him his favorite meal
of the day. "He'd say, "Mom, are you going to make me breakfast?'
He loved to eat," she recalled.
Born on his mother's 30th birthday, Serwinowski
enjoyed singing and playing the guitar. And while he loved the camaraderie
of the Marine Corps, his mother said, he was undecided on whether to make
a career of it or, in time, return to college and one day become a state
Now, the North Tonawanda School District and
its graduating Class of 2010 are planning to pay a special tribute to Serwinowski
at 10 a.m. Sunday during graduation exercises in Artpark.
Before the diplomas are given to graduates,
there will be a moment of silence followed by a tribute read aloud in Serwinowski's
honor. Among the graduates, district officials said, will be his sister
Other survivors include his stepmother, Lori
Rivera; an older sister, Kate Serwinowski; a half brother, Rory Serwinowski;
a stepbrother, James Urban; and a stepsister, Kelsey Urban.
24 July 2011