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Army Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz

Died December 4, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Depew, N.Y.; assigned to the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga.; killed Dec. 4 when two improvised explosive devices detonated near her convoy in Baqubah, Iraq.

Military interpreter from upstate New York killed in Iraq

Associated Press

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — A military interpreter from western New York died Saturday in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded on the convoy that was starting her on the journey home, church officials said Sunday.

Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz, 28, of Cheektowaga, spoke fluent Arabic and served as an interpreter in a military intelligence unit of the Army. Military officials informed her family of her death Saturday, said her uncle, Marty Gasiewicz.

Gasiewicz died outside of Baghdad on Saturday afternoon while she was traveling to Kuwait, where she would have spent Christmas before being shipped home after the first of the year.

She graduated from Depew High School and attended Canisius College before enlisting in the Army eight years ago, according to Gwen Mysiak, a spokeswoman for the family’s church, St. Philip the Apostle in Depew. She was deployed to Iraq a year ago.

She is survived by her parents, Paul and Kathleen Gasiewicz of Cheektowaga, and her brother, Paul Gasiewicz Jr., 24.

“She loved the military, and she loved working as an interpreter,” said her uncle. “She thought she was making a difference over there. She thought she was helping people.”

Mourners remember soldier’s compassion

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — A military interpreter killed in Iraq was remembered Monday for the compassion she showed others, from stray pets to Iraqi children.

Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz, 28, of Depew, died Dec. 4 when her convoy was struck outside Baghdad by two improvised explosive devices. The convoy was traveling to Kuwait, where Gasiewicz would have spent Christmas before being shipped back home in January after the yearlong assignment.

“No matter where Cari was, she always found time to help others,” the Rev. Joseph H. Penkaul told about 600 mourners Monday in St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church.

When she was stationed in Korea, Gasiewicz gave free English lessons and brought home a puppy named Sabre that she had rescued.

“It reminds us of Cari all the time,” said her father, Paul Gasiewicz. “That was her puppy, and she brought her home to us. She was always caring and looking out for everybody else.

“Cari wouldn’t want us to be mourning. She’s looking down on us and keeping an eye on all of us.”

Fluent in Arabic, Gasiewicz had been a soldier for more than eight years and hoped to work for the FBI or CIA after leaving the military. She was stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga., and was attached to the Army’s 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade in Iraq.

Her family said Gasiewicz would take lunch to Iraqi contractors and teach them English if they would teach her another Arabic dialect.

“We will try to think of this as your last deployment,” her aunt, Barbara Funk, said in a eulogy. “One more place you wish to serve, one more group of people you want to know, an additional foreign language you desire to learn. And Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz, when you do master the language of the angels, and I know you will, remember to teach the rest of us.”

Her body was taken to Pine Lawn Chapel, where her ashes will be entombed. She is survived by her parents and a brother.

— Associated Press

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