As we observe Veterans Day this weekend and honor those who served and serve our country in uniform, we remember a fallen Hawk, Sergeant Steven J. DeLuzio '09 who was killed in action in Paktika Province, Afghanistan on August 22, 2010.
Sgt. DeLuzio grew up in Glastonbury, Conn. where he was president of his freshman class at Glastonbury High School and co-captain of the hockey team when they won the state championship in 2003. He graduated cum laude from UHart in 2009 with a degree in accounting from the Barney School of Business.
Serving with the Vermont National Guard, Sgt. DeLuzio was on his second tour of duty. 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, he was also awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, NATO Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Army Sergeant 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. They also say heloved 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.”
“He always took the most dangerous assignments," says 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."
DeLuzio and his older brother Scott had joined the Army in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was killed during firefight in Paktika Province just three weeks before he scheduled to return home for good.
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.”