Gold Star Story - SSG Steven Ochs

SSG Steven Ochs entered the Army 1994. He conducted basic Training then AIT at Ft. Bliss, TX as a 14S Avenger Crewman. He attended Basic Airborne School in 1995, and then was assigned to the 3-4 ADAR, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. After a break in service, SSG Ochs re-entered service and was assigned to A/1-4 ADA, 1st Armored Division, Wackerhiem, Germany in 2000. He deployed in 2003 as part of OIF. His next assignment was with 1-62 ADA, 25th INF Division, Schofield Barracks, HI. He deployed with 1-62 in support of OEF. Following his assignment in Hawaii, SSG Ochs returned to Fort Bragg and 3-4 ADAR. He would deploy again to Iraq as part of Bravo Battery. SSG Ochs' final assignment was with E/3-4 ADAR, where he served as an Avenger section sergeant.

On September 28, 2007, just months after Steve’s return home from his third tour, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, also known as AML. He spent the next 10 months as a patient, more like a resident, at Duke University Hospital. Doctors at Duke said his aggressive form of AML was definitely chemically induced. Steve agreed and insisted it was due to the exposures he experienced while in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the doctor’s at Duke refused to go on record citing the reason that they could not prove it. Steve, like so many others, was diagnosed with AML during what I refer to as the “first wave” of victims.

Steven died Saturday, July 12, 2008 at Duke University Medical Center.
Steve is survived by his wife, Melissa and daughter, Annelise; parents, Klaus and Joanne Ochs; grandmother, Annelise Ochs; grandfather, W. S. Smith. He is also survived by his brother, Brian; sister, Stacy; brother-in-law, Cary; sister-in-law, Kim; nieces, Joey, Heather, Alycia and nephew, Brandon; and aunt, April Eppolito.