Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Allen A. Greka dies 'of wounds sustained from a land mine detonation during a dismounted patrol'

Alpena has lost one of its own in Iraq.

Army Sgt. Allen Greka, 29, died Friday after sustaining wounds from a land mine detonation. According to a news release from the Department of Defense, the incident occurred while Greka was on a dismounted patrol in Jisr Diyala, Iraq.

Greka and his wife, Jennifer, just celebrated their first anniversary July 8. The couple had a four-month-old daughter, Lilith. He also is survived by his parents, Steven and Patti Greka of Alpena. Greka also had a four-year-old stepdaughter, Rose, whom Greka thought of as his own, his father said. He also is survived by his grandparents, Chester and Mary Jane Greka, and Katie Twite.

Steven Greka said the family learned about his son’s death at about 11 p.m. Friday evening. He said it was devastating news.

“It’s very hard to deal with but we’ve been getting a lot of support from everyone in the area,” he said.

Steven Greka described his son as a “very professional soldier” who “loved what he did.” He said his son was a very outgoing person who enjoyed reading and was very smart.

“Anything he read he retained. He was very intelligent,” Steven Greka said.

Greka first enlisted in the Army in 2000 and graduated the basic armored recon course at Fort Knox, Ky. in August 2000. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, Camp Gary Owen, Korea, and Fort Polk, La.

At Fort Polk, he was deployed with the 2nd ACR serving as a M2 gunner with Killer Troop. After his first OIF deployment, Allen was transferred to D Troop 1/509th IN where he served as an OPFOR primary trainer. He re-enlisted and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Marie Lockwood, a former teacher of Greka’s at Alpena High School, also called him very intelligent. She said he set himself apart in school.

“I remember that Allen was independent and vocal and he had high expectations of himself,” said Lockwood, who taught Greka for two years. She said he was like an older brother who kept his classmates in line.

Ironically, Lockwood said she remembers Greka as a person who was always willing to question authority. She said for him to join the armed forces would have seemed like the farthest thing from her mind back then. But she said those qualities probably served him well while he was in uniform.

From the Alpena News