CARBONDALE, PA, USA U.S. Army SFC, COMPANY B, 1ST BATTALION, 109TH INFANTRY, (2 MEF), WILLIAMSPORT, PA AR RAMADI, IRAQ 09/28/2005
George Anthony Pugliese was born in New York City on September 18, 1966. He is the son of Dolores Parker, Honesdale, PA, husband of LeeAnne (Archbald) Pugliese, and father to three children, Nicholas, Jonathon and Avianna. George is also survived by his 2 brothers, Stephen of Honesdale, PA and Michael of Kingston, N.Y., his aunt Sylvia Parker, Honesdale, PA and several nieces and nephews.
George, the youngest of three brothers, was born and raised in Queens, New York City. He participated in many sports, had a paper route, and just enjoyed his childhood — like any typical American boy. George was a well rounded student who faced challenges including the temptation of drugs. He told his mom that some of his closest friends were making some bad decisions and he was conflicted about what to do. His mom said that sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in and be a leader not a follower. George not only took her advice with this situation, but he lived that philosophy for the rest of his life. George not only benefited from his mother’s advice, but his family, friends, and co-workers all benefited from mother’s valuable words of wisdom – as did the country that he loved.
George attended college studying business and computer science; and he and his family moved to Honesdale, PA in 1986. Under a deferred enrollment while in high school, he joined the Army. A prior sports related injury resulted in a medical discharge during basic training; however, George was not discouraged. After surgery, therapy, a lot of exercise and determination, he again entered the military by joining the PA National Guard in 1991. He was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Co. B, 109th Infantry.
George believed there is good in everyone and in every situation. George was called to serve his country when his Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit, the 1st Battalion of the 109th Infantry, 28th Infantry Division was deployed to Bosnia in 2002. While in Bosnia, George solidified his place as a strong leader. He led by true example, and he consistently put his troops, his mission, and his country ahead of himself. While in Bosnia, George was called home on emergency leave for the birth of his daughter Avianna. George soon returned to his unit in Bosnia and finished his mission. Soon after returning home from Bosnia, the 109th was again sent overseas to represent and defend our country.
During his 14 years in the Guard, he advanced not only in rank but also in responsibility as Section Leader and Squad Leader. Early in his training, it was realized that his grasp of military tactics was strong; and he was asked to serve full time and teach Tactical Logistics at the Ft. Indiantown Gap training school. In addition, he was encouraged to go to Officers’ Candidate School and join the regular army full time.
He turned down the offer to go to Officers’ Candidate School because he felt that teaching was not in his future. He preferred to be with ‘his boys’ for whom he felt responsibility.
The mayor of Carbondale said George’s family was very active in raising awareness about the soldiers serving overseas and their families here at home. They even got the city to hang up a banner at city hall reminding people to honor our troops. When news of his tragic death reached home, his hometown community and his fellow co-workers at SCI Waymart rallied behind his young family. They launched fund raising projects to create a trust fund for his three young children, and his co-workers and friends created the George A. Pugliese Memorial Project. Thousands of dollars were raised to create a lasting monument for George at SCI Waymart. The monument and memorial garden is the main focus of attention when you enter the grounds there.