Family Login:

1st Sgt. Stephen Louis Zaleski (US Army, Ret.)

1st Sgt. Stephen Louis Zaleski (US Army, Ret.)
  • May 7, 1968 - July 8, 2019
  • North Charleston, South Carolina

Pause Freedom's Spirit by Nicholas Barry, composer (BMI)
Share This Obituary

Send Flowers
 Local Florists

Retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Stephen Louis Zaleski, 51, of North Charleston, SC, husband of Gerralyn Arcillas Paragas, entered into eternal rest on Monday, July 8, 2019. The relatives and friends of 1SG Stephen Zaleski are invited to his visitation on Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Mount Pleasant Chapel, 1494 Mathis Ferry Road. Burial with military honors will be held in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Stephen was born on May 7, 1968 in Houston, Texas, the son of Michael Ernest Zaleski and Sarah Juniel Zaleski. He graduated from Wilton High School in Connecticut in 1986. He continued his education at the University of Southern California and the University of Oregon completing 190 semester hours of college towards a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and completed minors in Philosophy and Sociology.

1st Sgt. Zaleski enlisted in the U.S. Army out of Portland Oregon in November of 1992 and entered active military service on March 23rd, 1993. He completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training and graduated Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia in July of 1993. 1SG Zaleski served in several different duty positions in a variety of different units. He served as a rifleman, grenadier, automatic rifleman, assistant gunner, radiotelephone operator, fire team leader, squad leader, scout team leader, platoon sergeant, S3 Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, and First Sergeant. He was assigned to the 1-505 PIR, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC; 1-24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA; 1-32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY; as well as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.

1st Sgt. Zaleski was on numerous training exercises and deployment to include the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, LA; the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA; the Yakima Training Center, Yakima, WA; the Jungle Operations Training Center, Fort Sherman, Panama; the Northern Warfare Training Center, Fort Greeley, AK; and the Joint Maneuver Training Center, Grafenwheor, Germany. His real world deployment included operations in Panama, Kosovo (Operation Joint Forge), Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom I, VI, VIII, and X); and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom I).
His military education includes PLDC, BNCOC, M-ANCOC, 1SG Course, Combat Lifesaver, Emergency Lifesaver, Hazardous Material course, Airborne school, Jumpmaster school, and the Northern Warfare Survival school.

1st Sgt. Zaleski's military awards include: the expert infantryman badge; combat infantry badge; parachutist badge (with Bronze Star); Italian parachutist badge; driver and mechanic badge; the Bronze Star Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters); Purple Heart Medal; Army Commendation Medal (with 1 oak leaf cluster); Army Achievement Medal (with 6 oak leaf clusters); Good Conduct Medal (with 5 knots); Global War on Terrorism Expedition ribbon; The Iraq Campaign Medal (with Arrowhead); Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Kosovo Campaign Medal (with Bronze Star); Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon; NCO professional development ribbon (with "3" device); NATO service ribbon (with Bronze Star); National Defense Ribbon (with Bronze Star); and the Army Service Ribbon.

1st Sgt. Zaleski is survived by his wife, Gerralyn Arcillas Paragas of North Charleston, SC; his father, Michael E. Zaleski and step-mother, Sylvia, of Mt. Pleasant, SC; mother, Sarah (Konchog Jatson Dolkar) of Largo, FL; four sisters: Ellen Zaleski of Locust Valley, NY, Sarah Zaleski of Eugene, OR, Danielle Zaleski and Jessica Zaleski Cain both of Fayetteville, AR.

Memorials in honor of 1st Sgt. Zaleski may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517 or by visiting