A community dealt with the shock and sadness caused by the death of three central Ohio soldiers as flags at Grove City’s City Hall were flown half-staff.
According to the Ohio Adjutant General's Department, Captain Nicholas Rozanski of Dublin, Sergeant 1st Class Shawn Hannon of Grove City, Sergeant 1st Class Jeffrey Rieck of Columbus were all killed during an attack in Maimanah, the capital of the Faryab province, on Wednesday.
A close friend described Rieck as a soft spoken and sensitive man, who never failed to send a holiday card. He also described Rieck as capable of leading the most hard-bitten of soldiers, 10TV’s Glenn McEntyre reported.
Those who loved him said Rieck’s life and career were dedicated to the service of others, even in the face of personal sacrifice and great risk.
“Some of our most recent communication with him while he was in Afghanistan was expressing how much he enjoyed helping a lot of people there,” friend William Baird said. “Getting them food if they didn’t have food, things like that.”
Baird said that Rieck pushed through difficult living conditions.
“He said conditions weren’t the best, but that gave him no right to complain because he was doing what he loved to do,” Baird said.
On Thursday, loved ones of Hannon spoke about their fallen hero.
“Shawn was charming and engaging and never met a stranger,” Hannon’s family said in an e-mail Thursday. “He embraced life with vigor and an easygoing calm.”
Family members of Capt. Nicholas Rozanski said that he had been a member of the Ohio National Guard since 2003 and that he was on his third deployment.
Jennifer Rozanski said her husband worked as a civilian at the Defense Logistics Agency in Whitehall and that the couple has two young daughters.
Alex Rozanski said that his brother had risen to the rank of Captain and that the military was his calling.
“My brother Nick, he loved being in the National Guard,” Alex Rozanski said. “He loved being a soldier. He loved being a leader of soldiers.”
Rozanski said that people forget America is at war, and that was why his family wanted to share Nick’s story.
“We shouldn’t forget we are a nation at war, and we forget that, because we go on with our day-to-day lives and these just become fading, brief headlines. We are a nation at war, and men are dying on a regular basis over there. People need to remember that.”
The soldiers were members of the Ohio Army National Guard's 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
According to the National Guard, the brigade has six battalions, four of which are based in Ohio and two in Michigan.
About 3,100 soldiers from the brigade were mobilized last summer for a year-long deployment.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Friday, Gov. John Kasich ordered flags at state facilities in Franklin County and at the Statehouse be flown at half-staff on Monday.
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