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Army Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz

Died November 3, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


27, of Alden, N.Y., assigned to 178th Engineer Battalion, 412th Theater Engineer Command, U.S. Army Reserve, Oswego, N.Y.; died Nov. 3 of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device in Paktia province, Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne and Spc. Ryan P. Jayne were also killed in the incident.


Soldier remembered as humble, proud to serve

The Associated Press

ALDEN, N.Y. — A soldier killed in Afghanistan shied away from attention so much that even his family didn’t know until after he died that he’d been awarded a Bronze Star for saving someone during a firefight this year, his sister told mourners who overflowed a western New York church for his funeral Monday.
As the nation observed Veterans Day, Sgt. Brett Gornewicz, 27, was described as a soldier proud to serve his country after being deeply affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gornewicz, an Army reservist, was killed in a roadside bomb attack along with fellow upstate New York combat engineers Staff Sgt. Dain Venne, 29, of Port Henry and 22-year-old Spc. Ryan Jayne of Campbell while conducting route-clearing duties in Paktiya province on Nov. 3.

Gornewicz was “a selfless person who always put others’ needs in front of his,” his sister, Cassandra Cranston, said inside rural St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Alden, east of Buffalo. She said he spoke little about the work he was doing in Afghanistan.

Mourners filled the pews, stood along the walls and spilled out onto the front steps.

The reservist’s godmother said the death was particularly difficult because Gornewicz, who had served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, was expected to return home in two months. But she said saying goodbye on Veterans Day was special.

“The family is very blessed,” Linda Jagusiak said, “to feel we have a veteran amongst us in our family.”

Gornewicz, Venne and Jayne were assigned to the 444th Engineer Company, headquartered in Oswego.

Venne’s funeral is Tuesday in Port Henry. Jayne’s funeral will be Wednesday at his alma mater, Corning East High School.


Bill would name N.Y. post office for fallen soldier

The Associated Press

ALDEN, N.Y. — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Chris Collins have introduced legislation to name a western New York post office after a soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Spc. Brett Gornewicz, who died in 2012, was a native of Alden, 20 miles east of Buffalo. Gornewicz enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq, where he served from 2007 to 2008.

After returning, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Buffalo State College. He was working for a Tonawanda company when he was assigned to a second deployment to Afghanistan.

He died along with fellow New Yorkers Staff Sgt. Dain Taylor Venne and Specialist Ryan Jayne. All three were assigned to the 444th Engineer Company based in Oswego.

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