SPC Stephan Lee Mace
As long as anyone could remember, Stephan Mace always had a fascination with the military. Raised in Purcellville, Virginia, Stephan was taught lessons of patriotism and serving ones country. His grandfather had served in the CIA during the Vietnam War and Stephan felt a calling to serve as well. A typical boy, he loved the outdoors and anything dealing with motocross. While attending Loudon Valley High School, he couldn’t wait to graduate and enlist in the Army. His patience wore so thin that he got his GED early so he could enlist sooner. Nothing could get in the way of his dream.
In May of 2009, Stephan went on his first and final deployment to Kamdesh, Afghanistan. He came home in August for a two week leave where he caught up with friends and family. His mother remembers him being anxious to get back to his comrades. But his tour was a far cry from a cake walk. He was now a Cavalry Scout – known for their toughness and dependability. When talking to a friend back home about his deployment so far, Stephan was very cryptic. His friend stated, “He talked of being in the gun battles and it was almost as if he knew it [the attack] was a big possibility.”
Stephan soon returned to Afghanistan with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. In the early morning hours of October 3rd, Stephan was leaving his guard post when he heard the compound coming under attack. About 200 Taliban insurgents had swarmed the area, covering the soldiers with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. With disregard to his own safety, Stephan raced back to his post and provided machine gun cover fire for his fellow soldiers so they could relocate to a safer position. Stephan was fatally shot while saving the lives of his brothers in arms. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His heroism, and that of so many others before him, are honored at the Virginia War Memorial where their stories will never be forgotten.
Stephan’s name on the Global War on Terror Shrine