She would normally be making plans to christen their week-old daughter. Instead, Jennifer Lechowich of Bloomingdale is making plans to bury her husband.
Army 1st Lt. Ivan Lechowich, 27, was killed in Afghanistan at 7:15 a.m. Sept. 28 when an improvised explosive device exploded during a route clearance operation.
Two other soldiers were killed as well and a fourth was severely wounded.
According to the Department of Defense, the soldiers were killed in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Lechowich had become a first-time father just a week ago. Natalie Marie Lechowich was born a week early and the first lieutenant was able to see his newborn daughter via Skype from Afghanistan.
"If she'd been born on time, she would have been born after her father died and he never would have seen her," said the Rev. William Swengros of in Valrico, where the Lechowiches attended church.
In fact, Swengros married the couple Nov. 20, 2010. Anxious to start a family, Jennifer became pregnant right away.
"It was such a blessing," said Swengros, adding that Lechowich expected to come home soon to see his baby in person. "She's an adorable baby."
Lechowich was the son of Rick and Gina Lechowich of Bloomingdale East. He attended King High School and the University of Florida. The family was not available for comment.
Swengros described Lechowich as "a standup guy."
"He had a great sense of humor and was very mature for his age," said Swengros. "He was smart and funny, a family man and a patriot. This is just very, very sad, an unbelievable tragedy."
Funeral services have not been finalized.