3rd Bn 75th Rangers
Niagara Falls native killed in combat in Balad, Iraq
The Associated Press
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.
22, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., died Nov. 16 in Balad, Iraq, according
to a Defense Department statement.
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
“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.”
the Department of Defense statement, he died of “wounds suffered
from a combat-related incident.”
Ganczewski 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.”
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
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 Benning, Ga.