Kevin D. Grieco
Sergeant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 908-08
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died October 27, 2008, in Baghlan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when a suicide bomber detonated explosives as they were preparing to enter a building.
Sergeant Nicholas A. Casey, 22, of Canton, Ohio, who was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sergeant Kevin D. Grieco, 35, of Bartlett, Illinois, who was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard, Sycamore, Illinois.
For more information on Casey, media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005 or at http://news.soc.mil .
For more information on Grieco, media may contact
the Illinois National Guard public affairs office at (217) 761-3569; after
hours, (217) 725-2265, or at http://www.il.ngb.army.mil.
Sergeanht Kevin Grieco died Monday morning. According to the Department of Defense, Grieco was one of two solders killed by a suicide bomber.
He lived outside Chicago with his wife and children, but dozens of family members are here in the Toledo area, a place he called his second home. Grieco was deployed to Afghanistan in August. His batallion helps provide security forces for police mentor teams.
Kevin's 35th birthday was last Saturday. His aunt Sister Elaine Marie Clement sent him a birthday e-mail and heard back from him just hours before he was killed. "He said 'I've got to get ready for a meeting' and I wonder and I wonder if that meeting is where he was killed. I treasure those last words." Sister Elaine Marie says the family's faith will help get them through the tragedy.
Grieco's father and grandfather were both in the military so he moved a lot but he always thought of Toledo as home. Kevin's cousin Kristi Clement told us, "Kevin was awesome. He was a family guy. always smiling. the life of the party."
Sgt. Grieco leaves behind a wife and two small
children. The funeral will be in Chicago and he will be buried at Arlington
National Cemetery, where his grandfather is also buried.
A resident of Bartlett, Grieco, 35, graduated from Waynesville High School in Missouri in 1992 and earned a Bachelor of Science at Aurora University in Aurora in 2004. He enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard December 2006 after 13 years of prior service in the U.S. Navy. Grieco was married with two children.
“The death of Sgt. Grieco marks a sad day in the Illinois National Guard. This loss is felt by us all, both overseas and here at home,” said Maj. General William Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. “When we lose an Illinois National Guard Soldier, it’s like losing a brother or sister. On behalf of the men and women of the Illinois National Guard, we offer our deepest condolences to the Grieco family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”
Battery A deployed to Afghanistan approximately
four months ago to provide security forces (SECFOR) for police mentor teams.
The SECFOR team consists of four different Illinois Army National Guard
units: Battery A and B, 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery from Sycamore
and Crestwood; Headquarters, Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 122nd
Field Artillery from Chicago; and Company B, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry
Sergeant Kevin Grieco, 35, of Bartlett was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard, Sycamore.
"These guys are doing very dangerous but very important work in Afghanistan," Leighton said. "I can't say enough about the sacrifice for their country. These guys are over there dealing with the same people who either perpetrated 9/11 or sheltered those who perpetrated 9/11, so I don't think we should lose sight of that fact."
Reached by phone Tuesday, family members confirmed
the death but declined to speak.
The military was in Kevin Grieco's blood; his father and grandfather had served. So when he decided to join up and become a third-generation soldier, it wasn't surprising, his wife said.
Yesterday, Grieco was reunited with his grandfather as he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Staff Sergeant, 35, was killed October 27, 2008, in Baghlan, Afghanistan, alongside Sergeant Nicholas A. Casey, 22, of Canton, Ohio, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives as they were preparing to enter a building, according to the Department of Defense.
"He wanted to do more," his wife, Rashmi, said in a phone interview yesterday. "He wanted to be a major general. He wanted to be an officer. He wanted a career in the military. He kept saying to me, 'Even if I have to die for my country, I will.' That's how he always looked at it."
More than 100 mourners gathered at Arlington to honor Grieco, emerging from a procession of cars and walking across the soggy grass of Section 60 of the cemetery. The day's persistent rain abated minutes before the mourners arrived, but the sky remained gray and forbidding.
Grieco was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the "Army brat" son of a now-retired Colonel, his wife said. He was an Eagle Scout and a scoutmaster who loved the outdoors, she said. He spent 13 years in the Navy before enlisting in the Illinois Army National Guard in December 2006.
His wife said she wanted him to stay in the Navy because she thought it was safer than the Army. "But he just said, no, he wants to do more and more for his country," she said. She said he told her, 'Don't count on me retiring or anything, because I'm not going to retire.' "
The two met while line-dancing in Chicago in 2003. Grieco loved country music, and the India-born Rashmi aroused his interest.
"He was surprised to find an Indian girl line-dancing, so he was kind of curious," she said. "As soon as I saw him, I said, 'I'm going to dance with this guy.' "
So she asked him to dance. The two were married in April 2004 and lived in Bartlett, Illinois, just outside Chicago, with their children, Joshua, 4, and Angeli, 2.
Rashmi Grieco said that she is proud of her husband but that when she thinks of him "as a husband, as a father, it hurts my heart" not to have him around.
"My son keeps calling him over the phone and says: 'Dad, I'm ready to go to the swimming pool. Where are you?' " she said. "And I couldn't take it anymore. I said to Joshua: 'Daddy's with God now. He's not coming.' And Joshua said, 'Can he at least say I love you?' And I couldn't hold it anymore. It broke my heart."
Grieco, who shipped out to Afghanistan this summer, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, based at Sycamore, Illinois. He is the 80th service member killed in Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington.
He wanted to be buried at the cemetery like his grandfather, John Grieco, who rests on the west side of Section 60.
"We were just here recently for his grandpa, and I couldn't even imagine that I'd have to come back for my husband," she said. "I feel like I'm walking in a nightmare right now."
During the service, folded flags were presented to Grieco's wife and parents, Linda and retired Colonel Ralph Grieco. Afterward, family members lingered by the wooden coffin for more intimate goodbyes.
After they finished and moved back toward their cars, almost on cue, a light drizzle began to fall again.
GRIECO, KEVIN D
GRIECO, JOHN A
Posted: 14 November 2008 Updated: 19 April 2009
Photos By Holly, April 2009