June 8, 2012 in City

Gonzaga grad dies in combat in Afghanistan


The Fazzari family stands in front of an OH-58D helicopter. Matthew Fazzari died in Afghanistan when the OH-58D he was in took on enemy fire and crashed.
(Full-size photo)

A Gonzaga ROTC graduate deployed to Afghanistan died after the helicopter he was in took on enemy fire and crashed Wednesday.

Gonzaga ROTC leaders Friday said 1st Lt. Mathew G. Fazzari, a 2010 graduate, showed a knack for leadership during his time at the university.

“He did not eagerly seek the spotlight, but he was always willing to jump up and lead,” Lt. Col. Gregory K. Jacobsen said. As news of his death has spread around the tight-knit Gonzaga ROTC community, “what’s really becoming clear is the impact he’s had on these young cadets.”

Also killed in the crash was Capt. Scott P. Pace of Brawley, Calif.

The men died of injuries caused when their OH-58D Kiowa helicopter was engaged by enemy forces in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, according to a press release from the 82nd Airborne Division.

Fazzari, 25 and of Walla Walla, is the second soldier commissioned through the Gonzaga ROTC program to die in the war on terror; 1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens was killed in Afghanistan when his all-terrain vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. Ewens graduated from Whitworth College, which does not have its own ROTC program.

Fazzari is survived by his wife, Tovah, and his two children, Dominic and Samuel, according to the 82nd Airborne.

Fazzari and Pace were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

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