Oldsmar soldier killed in Afghanistan

OLDSMAR - Driving through the Forest Lakes subdivision in Oldsmar, you might think it's still the Fourth of July.

"It's either got little flags on the mailboxes or it's got American flags flying proud in glory," said neighbor Bruce Lange.

The neighborhood recently learned the war in Afghanistan's not so far away, afterall.

Art Giannetti lives next door to the Gross family.

On July 16, 25-year-old Spc. Frank Gross, a participant of Operation Enduring Freedom, sustained mortal wounds when an improvised explosive device caused a military vehicle to roll over in Kandahar province Afghanistan.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Giannetti says he cried like a baby when he heard Spc. Gross was killed in combat on Saturday, but Monday morning, he decided to replace his tears with flags.

"Just a tribute to Frank. I knew him very well. We're all going to miss him," Gianetti said.

He and his neighbors bought 125 American flags and walked their quiet streets with purpose, placing a flag on every mailbox.

Spc. Gross' neighbors hope the flags send a message that words can't.

"A smile and let them know the neighborhood loves them and cares about them," Lange said.

Giannetti remembers the last time he saw Spc. Gross, when the young man deployed just last month.

"As he was preparing to ship out, I shook his hand and told him how proud I was. Last thing I did, I saluted him," Giannetti said. "I'm honoring someone who gave his life so the rest of us can keep on going, bottom line."

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