National/World

Brother of Ohio soldier: 'We are a nation at war'

Friday, April 06, 2012
Afghanistan

The brother of a U.S. soldier who was among three central Ohioans killed in an Afghan suicide bombing says Americans shouldn't forget "we are a nation at war."

Capt. Nicholas Rozanski of Dublin "loved being in the National Guard," his brother, Alex Rozanski told WBNS-TV. "He loved being a soldier. He loved being a leader of soldiers."

The U.S. Defense Department says Rozanski was among three members of the same Columbus-based National Guard unit killed in the Wednesday attack in Maimanah, the capital of Faryab province.

Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hannon of Grove City and Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Rieck of Columbus. Four others were wounded.

Americans going on with day-to-day lives shouldn't forget the troops, said Alex Rozanski.

"We are a nation at war, and men are dying on a regular basis over there. And people need to remember that," he said.

The attack, by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle, killed at least 13 people Wednesday at a park in a relatively peaceful area of northern Afghanistan. It was part of an increase in violence at the start of the spring fighting season.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility. The bomber's target was unclear.

The men killed were from the Guard's 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, according to the Ohio Adjutant General's Department. Wounded were 1st Lt. Christopher Rosebrock of Hicksville; Spc. Austin Weigle of Bryan; Cpl. Everett Haworth of Olmsted Township in Cuyahoga County; and Pvt. 1st Class Jacob Williams of Somerville.

The brigade is based in Columbus but includes soldiers from across Ohio, the Guard said.

Rozanski's wife, Jennifer tells The Columbus Dispatch a family military history compelled him to join the Guard in 2003. He had deployed to Kosovo in 2004 and to Iraq in 2008.

"He did what he needed to do and what he signed up to do," she told WCMH-TV. "I want him to be remembered as a hero and that he was a great leader in the National Guard and he cared about his soldiers," she said.

A father of two girls, he worked for the Defense Logistics Agency at Defense Supply Center Columbus.

Hannon's family said he felt it was a privilege to serve his country and was proud to be a soldier, a job he did nearly 20 years while also working as a lawyer.

Hannon, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, joined the state veterans agency last year after working for a Columbus law firm. Survivors include wife and their 9-month-old son.

Hannon was a graduate of Capital University law school in Columbus and had been a lawyer for six years.

"He was one of the most well respected guys I ever met," said Steve Palmer, a lawyer who worked with Hannon. "If somebody in the world needed help, he'd be there. He believed in what he was doing over there."

Rieck, the father of a 15-year-old son, had served in the U.S. Army and was in Iraq for longer than a year before heading to Afghanistan. He worked full time in the Guard's Family Readiness office.

Friend Nicole Kraft, an Ohio State University journalism professor, said Rieck was "one of those people who really believed in what he was doing."

"He was all about being an American and doing his part," she told The Dispatch. "He really felt it was a role for which he was - perhaps it's too strong a word - destined."

The Taliban are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power and undermine U.S. efforts to try to build up the Afghan military.

This week, gunmen also attacked an outpost of a government-sponsored militia and killed 10 members of the security force, and another suicide bomber killed two people and wounded 16 others Thursday.

The Ohio infantry brigade has six battalions, with four based in Ohio and two in Michigan. It sent 3,600 soldiers to Afghanistan last summer for what was scheduled to be a yearlong deployment.

It was the largest mobilization for the 37th since the Korean War, according to the Ohio National Guard. The soldiers were sent to help with counter-insurgency operations and work with Afghan security forces.

In 2005, Lima Company, a Columbus-based Marine reserve unit, lost 22 Marines and a Navy Corpsman in Iraq, including nine in one bombing. Fifteen of the 23 were from Ohio.

Gov. John Kasich urged support of the slain men's families.

"It's just so horrible because these are young people and they have young families," he told WSYX-TV. "We have to surround them when terrible things like this happen."

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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afghanistan, ohio, taliban, military, national/world
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