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EDWARD GREINER JR. | April 16, 1980 - March 6, 2012

Army sergeant about to deploy to Afghanistan

By Torsten Ove
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Army Staff Sgt. Edward Greiner Jr. of Ross, a paratrooper and combat engineer with the 82nd Airborne Division Division who served 18-month tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and was about to deploy again, died Tuesday in a motorcycle crash near his base in North Carolina. Carolina.
   He was 32 and loved the Army. “He was going to put in his 20 years. He was the kind of guy the Army would have to kick out,” said a friend, Matthew Bizub, 29, of Richland, who served with the Air National Guard in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.
   Sgt. Greiner died at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center shortly after the 1 p.m. crash in Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg, home of the 82nd Airborne. Airborne. Police said a pickup truck made a left turn in front of Sgt. Greiner’s Harley-Davidson, and he crashed his bike into it.
   The 63-year-old pickup driver was charged with death by vehicle, a misdemeanor.
   Sgt. Greiner, who worked at the Army Recruiting Station in Ross, had returned to Fort Bragg last Friday and was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan at the end of this month. Mr. Bizub said he had taken early leave from the recruiting recruiting job to go back to Afghanistan, where his job would be to disarm and destroy roadside bombs as he did in his previous tours.
   “He said it was his job and he wanted to go,” said Mr. Bizub, who grew up with Sgt. Greiner in West Deer and kept in touch through the years. “That was his mentality. He did it for his country.”

    Sgt. Greiner graduated from Deer Lakes High School in 1998. He earned a graphic arts degree at Pittsburgh Technical Institute and then joined the Army and became a paratrooper.
   He served his first tour in Afghanistan in 2005-06 and his second in Iraq in 2006-07. When he came home from Iraq on leave in 2007, he enthralled a class of second-graders at McKnight McKnight Elementary School in McCandless by showing up to thank one boy, Tyler Kautzman, for his generosity. Instead of gifts at his birthday party, Tyler had asked the kids to bring cookies, candy and other items for soldiers overseas.
   The children ended up donating some 400 pounds of Iraq-bound goodies.
   In return, Sgt. Greiner presented Tyler with the Army Achievement Medal that he had earned for helping to put out a fire at the 82nd Airborne base in Iraq.
  “I got your football; me and my buddies play with it all the time. The cookies, candies and treats we got, we’re getting cavities from all of it,” he told Tyler and 120 other delighted second-graders that day. “Like we say, Tyler, you went above and beyond. Thanks.”
   Sgt. Greiner flew back to Baghdad that day.
   After his term in Iraq, he came home to Fort Bragg and volunteered for recruiting duty back home so he could take care of his grandmother in Ross. He lived at her house and cared for her while working the last four years at the recruiting center on McKnight Road.
   Mr. Bizub said his friend planned to become an Army drill instructor.
   “He wanted to serve his country,” he said. “He was a good guy. He was outgoing and embraced life.”
   Sgt. Greiner is survived by his parents, Edward Greiner of West Deer and Maggi Aebi of Allison Park, and his sister, Molly Morenci Morenci of Fort Irwin, Calif.
   Funeral arrangements were incomplete Thursday.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fri, Mar 9, 2012, First Edition] · Page 12]

[courtesy of Bill Bodkin]

Grave marker for SSgt Edward F. Greiner, Jr. in Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Cemetery, Pittsburgh (Allegheny county), Pennsylvania.