Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19, for Capt. Connor Bednarzyk, 25, a decorated Army Ranger and Central Bucks High School East graduate, who died Friday, Sept. 7, in a tactical vehicle accident in Georgia.
Capt. Bednarzyk, of Doylestown, was killed near Fort Benning, where he was based, said the Army Special Operations Command in a news release. The command declined to release any details. The accident is under investigation.
"Connor Bednarzyk was an amazing Ranger, leader, and friend," said Lt. Col. Michael Klopper, commander of the Third Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. "He was known throughout the battalion for his caring and positive attitude. He will be missed by all."
Born in Fairfax, Va., he was the son of Edward J. and Ruth Donovan Bednarzyk. He spent most of his life in Doylestown and graduated from Central Bucks East in 2011.
He was a varsity athlete in wrestling, baseball, and football. He was captain of the football team, said the school's football coach, John Donnelly.
Donnelly said Capt. Bednarzyk was very charismatic. "For a young man making a first impression, he had a big impact on you," the coach said. "He was the kind of kid who lit up a classroom or a weight room. He had positive energy and was always upbeat. That kind of leadership transferred over to the military."
Capt. Bednarzyk graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor's degree in security risk analysis from the College of Information Sciences and Technology. He attended Penn State on a ROTC scholarship, his family said, and graduated in the top 10 percent of ROTC graduates nationwide.
At the time of his death, Capt. Bednarzyk was leader of the Distribution Platoon, Echo Company, Third Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
He completed the infantry basic officer leader course at Fort Benning in 2015 and had been initially assigned to the First Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division, at Fort Carson, Colo., in April 2016.
Capt. Bednarzyk also trained at the Army's Airborne School, U.S. Air Assault School, and the Army Ranger School, and took the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 2 Course. After completing the course, officer candidates are judged on their physical and mental capabilities as well as the skills needed to lead and develop young Rangers.
From June through November 2016, he was deployed to Kosovo, where he led U.S. troops, NATO forces, and local military troops in training exercises designed to help local forces defend Kosovo's borders against attack from the outside.
He was awarded the Ranger Tab, Air Assault Badge, Army Parachutist Badge, and Expert Infantryman's Badge. He received the Army Achievement Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal, the Army said in its release.
In his spare time, Capt. Bednarzyk enjoyed working out, skiing, golfing, and spending time with family and friends.
"He truly valued the freedoms of the United States, and was honored to serve as an active member of our U.S. military," his family said.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his brother, Kevin; grandfather Francis Donovan; and an extended family.
A visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 5175 Cold Spring Creamery Rd., Doylestown, followed by a second visitation starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the church. A Funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m.
Interment at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown will be private.