Army Sgt. Steven
22, of Niagara
Falls, N.Y.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort
Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 16, in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from a
native killed in combat in Balad, Iraq
By Valerie Bauman
ALBANY, N.Y. —
Sgt. Steven Ganczewski was only 14 years old when he decided he wanted
to be an Army Ranger, and — like nearly everything else he attempted —
he was successful, family members said Nov. 18.
Ganczewski, 22, of
Niagara Falls, N.Y., died Nov. 16 in Balad, Iraq, according to a Defense
In his four years serving
in the military, Ganczewski performed five tours of duty in Iraq and one
in Afghanistan, his mother, Maria Ganczewski said. Each tour lasted
about three months and he usually had just six months in between to
spend with his family, she said. This tour was to be his last before he
planned to return home to train new Army Rangers.
“He wanted to be a
Ranger and he did it,” she said. “Being a Ranger is not an easy thing to
do. Anything he wanted to do he did it. He was so determined or lucky
... he completed everything he wanted to do.”
According to the
Department of Defense statement, he died of “wounds suffered from a
said military officials have told her little about her son’s death, but
she was informed that he fell from a helicopter on his way to a mission.
“I’m not ready to
lose him,” his mother said. “He was great family to me, to his father,
to his brother.”
He was survived by
his wife, Rachel, and his daughter, Makayla. Both live in Columbus, Ga.
Their ages were not immediately available.
He was born in
Albuquerque, N.M. He graduated from Niagara Falls high school in 2003.
He received a
number of awards and decorations, including the Afghanistan Campaign
Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze
Star. His family expects him to receive the Purple Heart, which is given
to those who die or are wounded in battle.
His death is under
investigation, the military said.
He was a fire team
leader assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort