Casey James Grochowiak

Company D 1-22 Infantry

4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)

KIA August 30, 2010




Staff Sergeant Casey J. Grochowiak died as a result of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by
an Improvised Explosive Device, while on patrol at Malajat, Afghanistan, August 30, 2010.


Army Ranger from Encinitas killed in Afghanistan

Originally published September 1, 2010 at 1:36 p.m., updated September 1, 2010 at 6:56 p.m

Casey J. Grochowiak could have opted out of his recent tour in Afghanistan because of a bad back,
but he chose to deploy for the sake of the younger soldiers, his family said.

“He felt like he could make a difference,” said his brother Erik Grochowiak, of Carlsbad.
“He felt like he needed to look out for the younger, greener soldiers. That was the type of guy he was.”

Casey Grochowiak, an Army staff sergeant from Encinitas, was killed by a roadside bomb Monday,
his family said Wednesday.

Grochowiak, who had been in the Army more than 10 years, was less than three weeks into his third tour in Afghanistan.
He was a Special Forces Army Ranger.

Grochowiak, 34, is survived by his wife, Celestina, and two children, son Deegan, 6, and daughter Matia, 14.

Family and friends knew Casey Grochowiak as a warmhearted father, active athlete and harmless prankster.

He graduated from Horizon Christian Fellowship, in San Diego, where played football.
He also enjoyed surfing, baseball and snowboarding.

“There were definitely some pranks pulled over the years, but he was also very honorable,” said Joel Savell,
a childhood friend. “When push came to shove, he would always do the right thing.
He had a lot of love for a lot of people.”

After high school, Grochowiak did construction work and tried community college.

“He didn’t always apply himself until he found the military,” his brother said.

Grochowiak was inspired to enlist by the large military presence in San Diego and by the fact that his father,
Edward, was a retired Navy officer.

Once enlisted, he was determined to become an Army Ranger. A knee injury derailed his first attempt at Ranger school,
his brother said, but he came back 18 months later to try again.

That time, he succeeded.

His military career took him to North Carolina, Florida, and just before his recent deployment, Colorado Springs, Colo.; (619) 293-1719



Casey Grochowiak as a Specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division





Army Staff Sgt. Casey J. Grochowiak, 34, Carlsbad; killed by roadside bomb

The Army Ranger had volunteered for a fourth overseas tour of duty, family members said, so he could put his knowledge
and experience to use to help protect the military's newer arrivals in Afghanistan.

April 03, 2011|By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

For much of his life, Army Staff Sgt. Casey James Grochowiak chose the most adventurous path.

As a high school student in north San Diego County, he liked surfing and snowboarding. As an infantryman, he jumped out of airplanes.
And as an instructor at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, he showed soldiers how to catch a rattlesnake — with their bare hands if necessary.

"He just loved to take chances," said his father, Edward Grochowiak, an attorney and architect who lives in Bonsall, near Oceanside.
"He loved motorcycles. He loved parachute jumping and … he just loved the Army, basically."

While recovering from a back injury, the 34-year-old Army Ranger volunteered last year for a fourth overseas tour of duty.
He thought his knowledge and experience would help him protect the military's newer arrivals in Afghanistan, family members said.

On Aug. 30, Grochowiak and another soldier were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Malajat in southern
Afghanistan's Kandahar province, on the Pakistani border. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson, Colo.

Grochowiak grew up in Encinitas in the 1970s, one of three children. Although he excelled in football, he never quite reached
his potential while attending Horizon Christian Fellowship High School, said his brother, Erik Grochowiak, 42. That changed
in 1999, when the Carlsbad resident entered the Army.

"It wasn't a financial decision," his brother said. "It was an emotional decision."

A year later, Grochowiak was part of the 82nd Airborne Division. He thrived in the Army's highly disciplined atmosphere
and became even more committed to his calling after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He went to Afghanistan the next year,
his father said, serving there for seven months.

Grochowiak traveled to Iraq three years later, according to the Army. "He was in many, many combat firefights,
too many to count," his father said.

In 2005, after becoming a Ranger, Grochowiak went to Afghanistan for a year. He returned to the U.S. in 2006 and, soon afterward,
became an instructor at Eglin's "swamp school," showing soldiers how to approach and handle various jungle creatures, his relatives said.

By 2010, he was ready for another overseas assignment. As a more seasoned soldier, he voiced fears for the safety of the newest,
some of whom were heading overseas at age 18. "He felt he needed to be there to look after the younger soldiers," his brother said.

Grochowiak was buried Sept. 11 at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. In addition to his father and brother,
he is survived by his wife, Celestina; two children, Matia, 15, and Deegan, 6; his mother, Barbara Grochowiak;
and a sister, Kerry Ferguson.

Since Grochowiak's death, his wife and children, with the help of his parents, have moved from Colorado Springs, Colo.,
to Temecula to be closer to his family in Southern California.

Article from Los Angeles Times




SSG Casey Grochowiak's decorations




The following is by Tom Roeder, writing in The Gazette Colorado Springs:

Grochowiak, 34, was riding in a convoy Monday that was stopped by suspicious activity on the road.
He and his platoon leader stopped and got out to investigate and were hit by a roadside bomb, his father said.

“They were killed instantly,” Ed Grochowiak said from Dover, Del., where several family members
were awaiting the return of his son’s body.

Grochowiak was a native of San Diego County in California and was athletic and loved to surf,
ski and snowboard, Ed Grochowiak said.

After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Celestina, in 1995, and worked construction jobs
before enlisting in the Army in 1999.

“He really excelled in the Army,” Ed Grochowiak said. “He decided to be career Army.”

Casey Grochowiak was selected for infantry school, and served seven years in the 82nd Airborne
before volunteering for Ranger school where he ended up teaching at the “swamp school” in Florida for three years.

When he wasn’t showing aspiring Rangers how to catch and eat poisonous snakes, he loved to spend time
with his wife and their two children, 14-year-old Matia and 6-year-old Deegan, all of Colorado Springs.

“He and his kids were inseparable,” Ed Grochowiak said. “He was a great father and husband.”

As previously reported, famliy members said Mark Noziska also was killed Monday by an improvised bomb.
He was a graduate of Papillion-La Vista High School in Nebraska and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“He was kind of a prankster. He liked to have fun, and he did everything with a smile,” said his older brother, Troy Noziska.

Gazette reporters Bill Vogrin, Matt Steiner, Maria St. Louis-Sanchez and Lance Benzel contributed to this story.

The Gazette




SSG Casey Grochowiak


Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Lompoc Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement regarding the death of Staff Sgt. Casey J. Grochowiak of Lompoc, CA:

  “On behalf of all Californians, Maria and I offer our sincere condolences to Staff Sergeant Casey Grochowiak’s family
and loved ones as they mourn the loss of his life. Casey was an honorable soldier, and the bravery he displayed in the line of duty
is an inspiration for us all. His service and sacrifice in the name of freedom will not be forgotten.”  

Grochowiak, 34, died August 30 in Malajat, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO.

  In honor of Staff Sgt. Grochowiak, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff. 

From the Office of the Governor of California





Left to right: SPC Fisher, SSG Casey Grochowiak, SGT Williams
take a break during a mission in Afghanistan August 2010


Staff Sergeant Casey J. Grochowiak was killed Sunday, August 30, 2010 while conducting a foot patrol in Southern Afghanistan.
He was deployed with the Delta Company, 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry Regiment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
SSG Grochowiak was a native of San Diego County in California and was athletic and loved to surf, ski and snowboard.
After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Celestina, in 1995, and worked construction jobs before enlisting in the Army in 1999.

Casey Grochowiak was selected for infantry school, and served seven years in the 82nd Airborne before volunteering to be
a Ranger School Instructor. SSG Grochowiak arrived at Camp Rudder in September of 2006. He immediately gained the respect
of his fellow instructors for his uncompromising work ethic and dedication to training Rangers. He was a quick witted and sharp individual
who put the needs of others before his own. While his unit was mobilized as part of the humanitarian effort in response to Hurricane Katrina,
Casey became aware of a Louisiana widow whose husband’s ceremonial flag had been destroyed during the tragedy. True to his character,
Casey arranged for the Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver a new flag to the widow so she may regain the token of the passed Veteran’s service.

What was most striking while observing SSG Grochowiak’s performance at Camp Rudder was the deep respect his students found
in his ability to develop combat leaders. He became personally invested in their training and the future they represented to the United States Army.
SSG Grochowiak was consistently recognized as a “tough as nails” instructor, but one who would apply the lessons learned through training,
so that his young Ranger students may succeed while in harm’s way. He was uncanny in his ability to take the experience he developed
through three combat deployments and 10 years of military service and translate that into realistic and effective training.

SSG Grochowiak was a Ranger Instructor at 6th Ranger Training Battalion and local Florida resident from 2006 until 2010.
SSG Grochowiak arrived at Fort Carson in April 2010 and was assigned to Dealer Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. SSG Grochowiak served as the 1st squad leader of 1st Platoon, training his soldiers for the upcoming deployment
to Afghanistan. As an experienced Non-Commissioned Officer he always trained his men above and beyond the standard.

SSG Grochowiak embodied the values that are set forth in the Ranger Creed, most notably his loyalty to fellow comrades and the United States
of America. Throughout his military career, he earned the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantrymen’s Badge, Expert Infantrymen’s Badge,
Parachutist’s Badge, and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He is survived by his wife, Celestina, and two children, Matia and Deegan.
While he will be missed, his patriotism and sacrifice in serving to protect this nation will never be forgotten. Rangers Lead The Way!


SSG Casey Grochowiak enjoying an MRE at ACS-5,
Afghanistan August 2010


From the 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry newsletter Regular Post




A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Casey J. Grochowiak, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Sept. 1, 2010.
Grochowiak was assigned to 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)




Casey Grochowiak is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California
Section CBI Row 3 Site 48




1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Memorial to
Casey Grochowiak
Mark Noziska




To view tributes to Casey Grochowiak click on the following links:


Kooky Remembers Fallen Hero SSGT Casey J. Grochowiak


Notes With Wings







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