Stefan Banach

When a soldier leaves his home, his family and the safety of his country to serve in combat six times during his career, we can never pay enough recognition and honor to that individual. The Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame would like to take this opportunity today to recognize and pay homage to a true U.S. Army Ranger combat hero who also has established himself as an outstanding wrestler and an integral member of a family who has excelled on the wrestling mats for their country. It is for those reasons and many more that we pay tribute to Steve Banach, the older brother of Olympic Gold Medal winners Lou and Ed Banach. As retired Major General Kenneth C. Leuer stated in his letter of endorsement for Steve, "no matter the mission, Steve Banach has stayed true to his wrestling values of dedication, mission accomplishment mindset, physical toughness and leading others in the pursuit of excellence." Steve epitomizes what we want to teach our students, athletes, and youth in America. Steve's odyssey as a wrestler began in his high school days at Port Jervis High School where he wrestled under the superb leadership of Coach Mark Faller. Following his stellar high school career, Steve headed to Clemson University, where as a freshman, he was already exhibiting the characteristics of a leader by being selected as the captain of his wrestling team. While at Clemson, Steve was the ACC Conference runner-up in the 190 pound weight class but decided to transfer to Iowa University the next year where he wrestled for legendary Coach Dan Gable and joined his brothers. In 1984 Steve finished 2nd at the Eastern Regional Olympic trials and qualified for the 1984 final Olympic trials. In 1984 Steve was also a member of the elite All-Army wrestling team while serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 82d Airborne Division. After graduating from Iowa University, Steve embarked on a distinguished career in the U. S. Army attaining the rank of Colonel. Lieutenant General and Superintendent at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Robert Caslen, proclaimed in his support letter that, "Steve is a tremendous leader who served his country with honor and distinction in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2010. During his Army career, he served in six combat zones and participated in four invasions in support of our national policies and objectives. He is a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. While in command of the 3rd Ranger Battalion from 2001-2003, he led U.S. Army Rangers during a historic night combat parachute assault into Afghanistan on October 19, 2001, as the "spearhead" for the Global War on Terror after the events of September 11th. During the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Steve led Army Rangers in a second combat parachute assault into Al Anbar province in western Iraq, where ISIS is fighting United States and Iraqi forces today." Throughout his military career Steve has received numerous military awards and decorations to include the Bronze Star Medal with "Valor Device" for heroism under fire in combat. Steve crafted many professional publications during his career. In 2015, he and his brothers penned the book, "Uncommon Bonds: A Journey in Optimism," an inspiring and motivating story of the three Banach brothers' journey to success. It is the honor and privilege of the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame that we present Colonel (Retired) Steve Banach with the Outstanding American Award for 2017.


Outstanding American
New York - Upstate

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