Sgt. William B. GrossPaniagua - Tara's Tribute
This is a follow up post written by Tara regarding her friend and fellow soldier who was killed in action 31 July in Afghanistan. She wanted to offer some insight to all of us so we could know how special he was to all who knew him.
Sgt William B. Gross
I had the honor of being in the same unit as Sgt Gross, then SPC Gross. We lived in the same hall of the barracks and he was in charge of cleaning the laundry room every morning. I always left my clothes in overnight on accident so he'd always tease me about walking on his freshly cleaned floor in the morning. He was the funniest guy with the most hilarious laugh. His accent made everything funnier too. He was friends with everybody, never involved in drama, loved his little car and a soldier that excelled at everything. I remember one day I discovered that someone had put bleach in my washer and stolen my laundry bag so being that he was in charge of the laundry room I banged on his door lol. I was going off and he laughed about it of course. After that, if he saw that I left my clothes overnight he would grab them for me and take them to his room until morning. He was always pulling pranks on people in the barracks so one day I found a big yellow caution wet floor sign in the laundry room and I took it to his door and set it so he would walk into it if he opened his door. Later I was walking by and he was standing with a group trying to find out who did it and I couldnt help but bust up laughing. From that day on, I woke up EVERY morning to that sign being in front of my door so I'd trip over it rushing out haha. We would randomly do things for each other all the time, get each other ice cream, movies, etc. When I discovered I was pregnant I'll never forget when Gross knocked on my door with a ton of apples... he told me it was one a day to make sure the baby was getting healthy food and from that day on my name was officially "MOM" lol. He was always excited to see my ultrasounds, he was my best friend in the barracks. He was such a selfless person and he always put people before himself. It's a quality in a person that you dont see often. One of the most respectful, respectable, and genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was THAT guy in the unit, the guy that absolutely everyone knew and loved, literally. The guy with the contagious laugh. The guy that would go to the moon and back, and use every friend or resource he could to help you in any way possible... I can't even stress that quality about him enough. The guy with the BIG smile that no one could miss. The guy that we all knew would go so far in life. Gross just got promoted to Sergeant while deployed in Afghanistan. He was always going to boards in Garrison, he was extremely smart and worked hard... he finally got his promotion before God took his hand, my friends overseas told me that he was so so happy when he got promoted, and that makes me feel so much better knowing that he was happy. My mom would tell me when I was little that when you accomplish what you are here on Earth to do, God takes you to Heaven. I wish that we all got more time with Gross.. but at the same time I know he is loving Heaven. He deserves to be in a place where he doesnt have to worry, he doesnt have to feel anything but happiness for eternity. We love you Gross, Battle Buddies for life. I know he is watching over all of our battles in Afghanistan. Our Angel.
|25th Infantry Division Announces Sgt. William B. GrossPaniagua Dies in Combat After Enemy Attack
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. William B. GrossPaniagua, 28, of Daly City, Calif., died July 31 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Sgt. GrossPaniagua's awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. Posthumous awards: Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with service star, Combat Action Badge
This was Sgt. GrossPaniagua's 2nd deployment overseas. He previously served 1 tour in Iraq in 2008 with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Sgt. GrossPaniagua enlisted in the U.S. Army September 7, 2005 as a Combat Engineer.
Submitted by the Department of Defense