Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Steven J DeLuzio

Glastonbury, Connecticut

August 22, 2010

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
25 Army Sgt

172nd Infantry, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Jericho, Vermont

 Killed at Paktika, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their unit with small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire.

SGT. STEVEN J. DELUZIO SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. - Sgt. Steven Joseph DeLuzio, 25, of South Glastonbury, Conn., died in battle on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010 in Paktia Province, Afghanistan while serving with the Vermont National Guard. 

Steven was born on Feb. 25, 1985 in Hartford, Conn. He was the beloved son of Mark C. and Diane (Lysik) DeLuzio of South Glastonbury, Conn., where he lived most of his life. Steven graduated from Glastonbury High School in 2003 and was president of his freshman class. He attended Hofstra University in New York, Norwich University in Vermont and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Hartford in 2009 with a degree in accounting. 

Before his deployment to Afghanistan, he was employed as an accountant at the CPA firm J.H. Cohn in Glastonbury, Conn. Steven belonged to the Co. A-3/172 Infantry, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (MTN) in Jericho. 

This was Steven's second tour of duty as he was deployed in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006, earning the Combat Infantryman Badge, Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy Unit Citation from that deployment. For his service in Afghanistan, Steven was also awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, NATO Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Good Conduct Medal. 

Steven was co-captain of the Glastonbury High School hockey team when they won the state championship in 2003. Steven was involved in Glastonbury Little League as an umpire and also coached his team to the Town championship in 2009. He was an avid sports fan and especially loved the New York Yankees and Boston Bruins.

Besides his parents, he is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Sgt. Scott and Victoria DeLuzio of Farmington, Conn.; his high school sweetheart and fiancée, Leeza Gutt of Glastonbury, Conn., whom he was to marry on Sept. 17, 2011; his grandfather, Joseph Lysik of South Glastonbury, Conn.; his nephew and godson, Adam DeLuzio; as well as aunts, uncles, numerous cousins and many, many dear friends. 

Steven always had a smile on his face and could light up a room just by entering it. He was protective, loving, and compassionate, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. 

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Church, 2577 Main Street, Glastonbury, Conn. Burial with full military honors will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, Glastonbury. Family and friends may call at St. Paul Church on Sunday, Aug. 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Sgt. Steven J. DeLuzio Memorial Fund, c/o Merrill Lynch, The Keating Group, 185 Asylum Street, Hartford, CT 06103. For online tributes, please visit www.mulryanfh.com.

Published by The Burlington Free Press on Aug. 28, 2010.

Vt. Guard mourns soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By Sam Hemingway

Burlington (Vt.) Free Press

COLCHESTER, Vt. — The deaths of two Vermont Army National Guard soldiers during an Aug. 22 firefight with insurgents in eastern Afghanistan underscores the seriousness of the mission that confronts the Guard, a grim-faced Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie said.

“This is a tough time in Afghanistan for our brigade,” Dubie said during a news conference at Camp Johnson in Colchester, where he confirmed the deaths of Sgt. Tristan H. Southworth, 21, of Walden and Sgt. Steven J. Deluzio, 25, of South Glastonbury, Conn. “We’ve drawn a tough assignment.”

Dubie said he met with Southworth’s parents, Michael and Julie Southworth, on Aug. 24 to express his condolences. Southworth was the oldest of three brothers in the family. Dubie became emotional when asked how the Southworth family was doing.

“I can’t really say,” Dubie answered, his eyes watering. He then stood silently before reporters and clicking cameras for a few moments before he departed the room.

The deaths are the second and third the Guard has suffered this year, as its yearlong deployment of 1,500 soldiers enters its ninth month. Only one other time, in 2004 in Iraq, has the Guard lost two soldiers on the same day.

Insurgent attack

Dubie said he does not yet have full accounts of the soldiers’ deaths.

He said they were part of two platoons made up of Afghan border police and members of the Guard’s 3rd Company, 172nd Infantry, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Jericho. The troops were out on a patrol in a mountainous area in Paktya province, near the Pakistan border.

“There was an operation to advance in an area of known insurgents,” Dubie said. “They came under attack from a quite large number of insurgents, and that’s where both of our Vermonters were killed.”

Dubie said the firefight lasted about two hours. He said he was told Southworth was killed while trying to rescue another soldier.

“Sergeant Southworth, it is reported, was trying to extricate another soldier when he was mortally wounded,” Dubie said. “There are preliminary reports of actions including Sergeant Southworth that reflect great credit on himself and the unit for courage under fire.”

To honor his valor, the Army posthumously promoted Southworth from specialist to sergeant, Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow said.

Dubie said he did not know many details about the circumstances of Deluzio’s death. Deluzio, 25, was a one-time student of Norwich University in Northfield who joined the Vermont Guard in 2004 and served in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 as part of Task Force Saber.

“He’s an example of someone who, instead of joining a unit closer to home, once he joined that unit, he stayed in that unit,” Dubie said. “He’s as much a member of the Vermont National Guard as I am.”

A ceremony for the two fallen soldiers was held Aug. 23 at Bagram Air Force Base. Dubie said some 600 members of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team attended the event. Nearly 1,500 Vermonters are in Afghanistan are a part of the deployment, the Vermont Guard’s largest since World War II.

Dubie planned to visit Deluzio’s parents in Connecticut on Aug. 25. In advance of Dubie’s confirmation of Deluzio’s death, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered the state’s flag and the American flag lowered to half-staff Aug. 24 to honor Deluzio.

Southworth and Deluzio are the 12th and 13th members of the Vermont National Guard killed in combat since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A 14th died of natural causes while deployed in Kuwait.

Dubie said he was “never prouder” of the Guard soldiers and their families for their resiliency during the Guard’s ongoing mission in Afghanistan.

“It hurts us all; it pains us all,” he said of the deaths of Southworth and Deluzio. “But the families need to know that we are ready for the mission, we’re capable of the mission, and I think as they’ve talked with their loved ones, I’m sure their loved ones have expressed the fact that they want to finish the mission and then come home.”

Deluzio leaves behind his parents, a fiancée and his brother, staff Sgt. Scott Deluzio, also a member of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as a member of Connecticut National Guard, who was returning home from Afghanistan, Dubie said.

“He’s a hero, and he’s the greatest son,” said his father, Mark DeLuzio, his voice choking with emotion. “Two sons I have — the greatest you could ever ask for.”
From the HARTFORD COURANT www.courant.com  08/16/21

Taliban takeover a ‘slap in the face’, says father of Connecticut soldier killed in Afghanistan
AUG 16, 2021 AT 2:23 PM

A Glastonbury native whose son was killed in Afghanistan reacted with disappointment and anger Monday to news of the Taliban’s takeover.

“It’s a slap in the face for the sacrifice that everybody made,” Mark DeLuzio, father of U.S. Army Sgt. Steven DeLuzio, said.
Scott DeLuzio, Steven’s brother and also an Afghanistan War veteran, said he wanted to keep a hopeful vision — that the seeds of freedom planted by the U.S. eventually will bear fruit.

A standout hockey player at Glastonbury High School, Steven DeLuzio, 25, was killed in 2010 along with a fellow U.S. soldier and an Afghan ally. The most recent tally shows 2,448 American service members killed in the war, along with 3,846 U.S. contractors and about 66,000 Afghan national military and police.
All honor is due veterans of the war, Mark DeLuzio said, “because they were doing what their country asked them to do. But you have to ask why we were there to begin with when there were no final objectives as to win and loss.”

“The people who are left vulnerable now, that the president actually left out in the open and they’re being slaughtered as we speak,” DeLuzio said, “are people who helped us, the interpreters, the army that we trained. Biden abandoned all of them.”

Steven DeLuzio had served in Iraq in 2006 and could have skipped Afghanistan as he was due to be discharged. But he reenlisted with his Vermont National Guard unit (he joined while attending college in that state), his father and brother said, because he wanted to be with his men, particularly those who had not seen combat.

Scott DeLuzio was serving in Afghanistan with the Connecticut National Guard’s 102nd Infantry when his brother was killed.

“There’s no way to sugar coat it — it sucks, it’s a terrible situation,” Scott DeLuzio said of the Taliban’s swift and sweeping takeover.

“I really feel for the people of Afghanistan, the people trying to get out of there. It’s heartbreaking,” Scott DeLuzio said. “So many people feel it’s all been for nothing... but I try to see a positive side — the Afghan children who had a chance at an education while we were there, the villages that have electricity and running water for the first time ever.

“I just hope that the seed has been planted in some of the people that, ‘You know what? I know what this freedom tastes like.’ I hope that they’re willing to fight for it. Maybe the Taliban has taken over today, but that doesn’t mean that the people’ won’t be willing to fight for some of these things.

“Some of those girls [who attended schools established by the U.S.] are women now and they will pass this on to the next generation,” he said.

Father and son said they hold memories of Steven’s selfless spirit. Facing a firefight on the last day of his life, the buck sergeant who was due to marry his high school sweetheart told a fellow soldier that he would move forward and the other man, who had a wife and children, should stay back, Mark DeLuzio said.

“He was always looking out for his guys,” Scott DeLuzio said.
From Connecticut State Wall of Honor https://ct.gov

Steven DeLuzio – Age 25
Army Sgt.
(2010 – Afghanistan)

Army Sgt. Steven DeLuzio loved to make others laugh, but his family says he is best described as a tenacious defender both in and out of uniform.

Co-captain of the 2003 state champion Glastonbury High School hockey team, DeLuzio loved playing and talking sports and had a reputation as the “ultimate teammate.” Tattooed on his back was the Army infantry slogan: “Follow Me.”

“He was protective, loving, compassionate and always a defender,” reads a family memorial tribute. “Whether it was hockey, baseball or as a soldier, he tried to protect others from harm.”

DeLuzio and his older brother Scott had joined the Army in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was scheduled to return home for good not long before his death during a firefight in Paktika Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 22, 2010.

“He always took the most dangerous assignments," said his father, Mark DeLuzio. "He could have come home, but he re-upped because he didn't want to leave the guys under his command."

The 25-year-old, who was engaged to be married and had a job waiting for him at an accounting firm where he had previously worked, had updated his Facebook page the day before the battle that took his life.

“Twenty days until I'm out of here,” he wrote. “A lot to look forward to once I get home. Can't wait.”

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