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Mountain Man Memorial March

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1LT Stephen Chase Prasnicki


Hometown: Lexington, VA

Branch: U.S. Army

Unit: 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

Military Honors: Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart

Date of Sacrifice: June 27, 2012 - KIA in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan

Age: 24

Conflict: War in Afghanistan, 2001-2021

Stephen Chase Prasnicki was born in Lexington, Virginia, on February 9, 1988. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Lexington is home to the Virginia Military Institute (—the oldest state-supported military college in the United States.

Stephen, better known as “Chase” was an excellent student and standout quarterback at Rockbridge County High School in Lexington and was highly recruited by the time he graduated in 2006. His leadership abilities made him a natural for military service, and he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point ( after graduating high school.

While a cadet at West Point, Prasnicki played quarterback and safety for Army’s Black Knights football team. His wife Emily later recalled to CBS Sports, “On the football field, they called him ‘Nitro’ because he was just this full force of power and energy. He gave everything he had into every play he did, whether it was a practice or a game.”

After graduating in 2010, he served as a Graduate Assistant football coach at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

Prasnicki graduated with honors from the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leaders Course, at Fort Sill (, Oklahoma in 2011. Prior to attending U.S. Army Ranger and Airborne Schools at Fort Benning (, Georgia, Chase was assigned briefly as an Army Recruiter in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He graduated from Ranger School in September 2011 and Airborne School in October 2011.

On November 26, 2011, Prasnicki married Emily Nichols of Yorktown, Virginia, at Langley Air Force Base ( The following day, he departed for his first duty assignment as an Army Ranger—with the 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, Airborne Brigade Combat Team (“Sky Soldiers”) stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg, Germany. Emily was able to join him in Bamberg in December 2011.

While stationed in Germany, First Lieutenant Prasnicki completed Army Pathfinder School. He was trained to provide navigational aid and advisory services to military aircraft.

In late June of 2012, Prasnicki and his team were deployed to Maiden Shar, Wardack province in Afghanistan. He was assigned as a platoon leader. His commander, Capt. Tom Feeney, commented that Prasnicki volunteered to go on patrol the moment he arrived in Wardak—making him “a commander’s dream platoon leader.”

Three days later, on June 27, 2012, was killed when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was 24 years old and had been married to Emily for just seven months. Also killed in the attack was Sgt. James L. Skalberg Jr., 25, of Cullman, Alabama.

For his actions in defending his country, 1LT Stephen Chase Prasnicki was awarded a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and Purple Heart. He was laid to rest near his hometown in Buena Vista, Virginia.

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