MIAMISBURG — Friends and neighbors of a decorated Marine killed in action during combat operations in Afghanistan poured out memories and grief on social websites devoted to the 2006 Miamisburg High School graduate.
Family members of Marine Cpl. Paul “Rocky” Zanowick Jr. were in Dover, Del., Monday viewing the transfer of his body, the Marine Corps said.
Zanowick, 23, was killed in combat Friday in the Nahr-E Saraj District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, according to Marine Inspector Instructor 1st Sgt. Harry Kindrick.
After news of Zanowick’s death spread throughout the city, neighbors of his parents put out American flags to honor the man who walked their streets as a Boy Scout, selling popcorn.
“He was just a fine young man,” neighbor Elsie Stupp said. “He was very excited about serving his country ... He chose to go do what he did. He didn’t have to go do it ... I think it’s really pulling us as a community together to mourn and try to be there for the family.”
The family declined comment, according to Kindrick.
Zanowick’s remains will be flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Kindrick said, but a date for that transfer has not yet been set. Zanowick, an anti-tank missile man, enlisted in the Marines on Jan. 22, 2008. This was his second deployment.
His service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
He is survived by his wife, Ryan Lynn, and son Uriah of Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Parents Paul and Nanette; and sister Nicole of Miamisburg.
Several of Zanowick’s Facebook friends commented on their pages and changed their profile pictures to honor fallen service members.
On Zanowick’s online condolence book on DaytonDailyNews.com, friends expressed appreciation for his sacrifice.
Zanowick was known for his active participation in the Miami Valley Boy Scouts.
“I stand as part of your Scouting family, to say how saddened we are by this tragic loss,” wrote Bronwyn Duteil of Centerville.
“We are grateful to Paul Jr. for his service, and stunned by his sacrifice. He exemplified the morals and character we all wish for our boys. Through the scouting program he became a leader of many; he walked the walk, and grew into the finest young man and Marine, filled with honor,” Duteil wrote.
Zanowick’s high school track coach, Melvin Johnson, told WHIO-TV he remembered the young man as a doer.
“Whatever we asked him to do, he was willing to do it,” Johnson said. “He was a team player and he wasn’t a superstar but whatever we wanted him to do, he did for us.”
Three other military members from the Dayton region have been killed in action this year:
• Marine Cpl. Lucas T. Pyeatt, 24, of West Chester Twp. He was killed Feb. 5;
• Army Cpl. Donald R. Mickler Jr., 29, of Trotwood. He was killed March 19;
• Marine Cpl. Adam D. Jones, 29, of Germantown. He was killed April 27.