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Saturday, 22-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
LCpl Andrew Russoli

LCpl Andrew Russoli
Article published Oct 22, 2005

Family, friends recall slain Marine

By Allison Perkins
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO -- Tears turned to smiles Friday as friends remembered Andrew David Russoli's "explosive laugh" and his efforts to keep girls out of his childhood "boys only" backyard clubhouse.

Russoli, 21, was killed Thursday in Iraq.

Russoli, a lance corporal, was one of three Marines and a soldier, all assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), who were killed by a roadside bomb attack near Nasser Wa Salaam.

Military officials said that during the subsequent engagement, Marines killed two terrorists and detained four others suspected of involvement in the attack.

Russoli, who graduated from Northwest High School in 2003, was serving his second tour in Iraq. He left for the combat zone in mid-July, one day before his 21st birthday.

He had previously been awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he received during his first tour, which ended in September 2004, when a roadside bomb caused his vehicle to flip upside-down.

Friends and family say being a Marine was something Russoli had wanted to do since he was a little boy.

"He always loved military things and he would play with G.I. Joes more than anything else," said his mother, Sally White, of Greensboro. "He used to dress up in camouflage, and he and his friends used to go to the creek and play 'creek control' and look for the bad guys.

"I think he was born to do this, just not for as long as I thought," White said.

"I'm very proud of him," she said. "He was a very good son. He gave the greatest bear hugs you could ever want."

On Friday, the friends he grew up with in his church youth group at College Park Baptist Church gathered at his mother's home and often burst into giggles as they talked about their childhood exploits together.

"So many stories. So many stories," said longtime friend Phillip Jones. Russoli was the cute one, the girls said. The one everyone had a crush on. His sense of humor, his laugh, were infectious.

He was a poet. When he watched movies, his mother said, he tried to learn the moral of the story and live by it.

Russoli was a trombone player in his middle school jazz band. When he was 10, he learned how to fence. When there were no students his age to compete against, he fenced against adults -- and won.

His dedication to friends and family was the memory they cherished most.

"If I ever needed to talk to him I really felt like he was listening," said Jones said.

As they shared stories and laughed, the gathered friends said they were proud of Russoli.

"Proud beyond belief," Jones said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Allison Perkins at 373-7157 or aperkins@news-record.com

Friday, 21-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
LCpl Shayne Cabino

LCpl Shayne Cabino

Franklin Marine is laid to rest
By David Riley/ Staff Writer
Friday, October 21, 2005

FRANKLIN - Hundreds mourned Lance Cpl. Shayne Cabino Monday as a young Marine lost all too young, who sacrificed his life out of love for friends, family and his country.

St. John's Episcopal Church on Pleasant Street could not hold all those who attended the 19-year-old Marine's funeral, the crowd spilling out the front doors.

Through tears, Cabino's family spoke fondly of his infectious smile and personality, his bright blue eyes. His older sister recalled how she felt 25 feet tall when he lifted her on his shoulders.

"Shayne is a hero, and he'll be remembered as a hero," Brandi Cabino-Navas said.

A Franklin native, Cabino finished high school in Canton and entered the Marines after graduating a year ago. He was killed Oct. 6 with three other members of the 2nd Marine Battalion by a roadside bomb near Karmah, Iraq.

As family members filed inside Monday, a small group of Marines in dress blue uniforms marched silently down a drive leading to the church.

Gov. Mitt Romney quietly made his way inside.

Cabino's father, William Cabino Sr., is a state corrections officer, and about 50 of his colleagues lined up silently and upright outside.

Flanking the church doors holding rifles and flags were the Massachusetts Correction Officers Honor Guard and Marine Corps League.

With bagpipes sounding, all in the building stood as six Marines lifted Cabino's flag-draped casket from a hearse and slowly carried it inside, removing their white caps before setting it down in the church.

The Rev. John Sullivan of the family's church, Tri-County Full Gospel Fellowship of Franklin, said Cabino left behind four brothers, two sisters, four parents and step-parents, two grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

"He was extremely proud, and rightfully so, of the uniform he wore and the fact that he was serving his country," Sullivan said.

Singer Susan Savaria led worship songs including "We Are Standing on Holy Ground" and "Jesus Lamb of God." Some friends and family sang along, reaching up toward the sunlight that streamed into the church.

Relatives spoke and prayed one by one, with a cousin, Greg Thompson, saying Cabino was now wrapped in God's arms. He said he was not surprised when Cabino joined the Marines.

"That's what people of his character do," Thompson said. "They see the world as it is and as it should be, and they set about completely, boldly ... to change it."

Cabino's brother, Justin, and grandmother, Carol Mazelli, also spoke. His uncle, Mark Mazelli, recalled how Cabino's personality kept him "wrapped" around his nephew's finger.

Cabino-Navas remembered jumping on a trampoline with her little brother and keeping their mother, Jodi Cabino-Cipriano, hopelessly bouncing about.

"There are a lot of things I wish I'd remember that I never will," she said.

The sister said she would be thankful for the blessing of Cabino's life, but lamented that she would never meet his children.

In his homily, Sullivan said Cabino made the "highest sacrifice a man can make," devoting his life to something he believed in without regard for the danger.

He quoted the Bible, noting that Christ said there was no greater demonstration of love than to lay down one's life for friends.

"No matter where you go from this place today ... any time you hear the name Shayne, you will remember what Shayne Cabino did," he said.

After a prayer from the Rev. Andrew Savaria, also of the Tri-County Full Gospel Fellowship, mourners filed outside.

Six Marines again lifted Cabino's casket and carried it to a hearse. Correction officers and other members of the military stood at attention, saluting.

After gently laying the casket down, the Marines led a procession that marched silently back up the drive.

Before friends and family left for Mount Hope Cemetery, where Cabino was buried, Sullivan had the last word.

"Shayne set the bar a little higher for us," he said.

Tuesday, 18-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Cpl Nick Cherava

Fair Winds and Following Seas Cpl Cherava

Several followed Cherava's lead

Published Tuesday, October 18, 2005 1:09:16 PM Central Time


Globe Staff Writer

ONTONAGON -- Jim, Craig, Mike and Dave called him "The Recruiter."

Marine Cpl. Nick Cherava, who died Oct. 6 in Iraq and was buried Monday in Ontonagon, was one year older than Jim Schmidt, Craig Plutchak, Mike Mansell and Dave Sirvio. All four followed Cherava's lead and enlisted in the U.S. Marines.

Cherava graduated with the Ontonagon Area High School Class of 2003, the others in 2004. He was eventually assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Carol Gingerich, a 2003 classmate of Nick's also entered the Marines.

Schmidt's mother, Cindy, and Craig's dad, Jim, said that Nick loved being a Marine and convinced the others to enlist. "He was even rewarded by the Marines for being such a good recruiter," Cindy said.

The four young men returned to Ontonagon and marched in the 2004 Ontonagon Labor Festival Parade. Just out of boot camp, they were proud, handsome Marines.

Nick and Mike Mansell were sent to Iraq. For Nick it was his second tour. Schmidt, Plutchak, and Sirvio are in Afghanistan.

Mike Mansell was injured in Iraq just days before Cherava was killed. Mansell sustained a broken left leg and a ruptured artery when the vehicle he was riding in hit some loose turf and sank. The vehicle overturned.

As Mansell was loaded on the helicopter, Cherava told medics, "Take care of him, he is my good friend." Days later, Cherava was killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting operations against enemy forces near Al Karmah.

Mansell is now being treated at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

Cindy Schmidt said Nick's death and Mike's accident have been very hard on all three of the classmates in Afghanistan.

"They have been very sad, and we are urging friends to write to them and tell them how much we appreciate their service," Cindy Schmidt said.

Two more members of the OAHS Class of 2004 have since enlisted in the Marines. Scott Jackson and Kirk Kaurala are at the School of Infantry, Marine Corps, and Scott's brother, Roy Jackson, left for Marine boot camp Sept. 12.

The latest enlistment brings to six the members of the Class of 2004 who were influenced directly or indirectly by the young Marine who was buried Monday.

Only Gingerich was able to return to Ontonagon for her classmate's funeral. In the congregation at Holy Family Catholic Church were parents of the Marines still in Afghanistan.

Schmidt, Plutchak and Sirvio all wanted to return for the funeral of their friend. "They nearly got a chance to come home and be pallbearers, but were told that since Nick was not a relative, they could not get leave," Cindy Schmidt said.

In a way, the group is related -- as friends, brothers and Marines.

Sunday, 16-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Commander's Update!

October 16th, 2005

Warlords and Warlord families of Task Force 2/2,

Yesterday the government of Iraq declared a national holiday to further support the turnout for the Constitutional Referendum. Our Marines did not allow the insurgents to circumvent the Iraqis march towards democracy. As always, your Marines performed exceptionally. I am proud to be here as part of the Warlord family that helped this new country forge its path towards a new tomorrow.

Preparing for the elections was a tremendous task. The combined effort by the people of Iraq, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), and the Coalition Forces ensured the success of yesterday’s referendum. Our higher headquarters, the 2d Marine Expeditionary Force, planned extensively with the interim government. However, it was the IECI and interim government that determined the Marines would not be directly tasked with securing the individual polling sites. Instead, we were postured ready to respond to any incident within our area of operations (AO). The companies and the battalion staff worked diligently to prepare and organize our forces to accomplish this task. Their hard work executing disruption operations prior to the referendum and their continued active security patrols yesterday ensured a safe voting environment for the Iraqi people. Also, the 1-4-1 Iraqi Army and the newly created Karmah Police contributed to a peaceful referendum. Not only did they help secure the poll sites, but also they actively took part in their new democratic government by casting votes of their own. As you may know, our AO is predominately Sunni. During the January election, this segment of the Iraqi population stayed away from the polls. This was not the case yesterday. Your Marines and the Iraqi Security Forces have clearly gained the confidence of the citizens in Karmah and Nasser Wa Salaam. Regardless of the outcome, the choice was the Iraqis to make. The fate of their country is increasingly in their hands.

This historic election and promising future for the good people of Iraq did not come without a costly price. The Task Force suffered a tremendous loss. On the 6th of October our Warlords lost four of our bravest and best men. Cpl Cherava, LCpl Kenny, LCpl Frye, and PFC Cabino all from Golf Company, were going to the aid of their fellow Marines when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacked them. Words cannot describe how much they meant to us, or the magnitude they will be missed. At this time, we can only pray for their families as they struggle with this tragic loss. Their death will not be in vain, and we will continue the mission that we started together, as they would have wished. We will bring freedom and peace to the people of Iraq, and we will honor their memory with our deeds.

The Marines continue to inspire me with their dedication and selfless service. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such men. Thank you all for your continued support of Task Force 2/2. We could not carry on with the mission without your letters, care packages, and words of inspiration and gratitude. Every day brings a new opportunity to preserve the freedom of a democratic Iraq. The Warlords are honored to have this opportunity, and I am humbled to lead them. Have a happy Halloween.

I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J Minick

Monday, 10-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

LCpl Patrick Kenny
Marine who inspired sister to enlist dies
Saturday, October 08, 2005

By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lance Cpl. Patrick Kenny looked and acted like he belonged on a Marine Corps recruiting poster. So able and enthusiastic was Cpl. Kenny that he inspired his younger sister, Katy, to follow his example and join the Marines.

Katy Kenny, back home in Emsworth after completing 13 weeks of boot camp, learned yesterday that her hero was dead -- killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

Cpl. Kenny, 20, and three other Marines died Thursday when the explosion tore through their Humvee in Karmah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Three Marines in green uniforms banged on the Kenny family's front door at 1:23 a.m. yesterday to break the news. Chuck Kenny said he knew as soon as he opened the door that his only son was dead.

"Now the family name won't go on. That's it," Chuck Kenny said yesterday afternoon between hugs with friends and family members who streamed into his home.

Katy Kenny, 19, had spent the week in Pittsburgh-area high schools, recruiting young women for the Marine Corps. But yesterday, she said, all she could think about was being brave for her father and her mother, Tricia. Cpl. Kenny would have expected that of her.

"I looked up to my brother," said Ms. Kenny, who became a Marine private after completing boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., on Sept. 23. "In high school, I became the water girl for the football team because he was a football player."

Cpl. Kenny started at tackle for three years at Avonworth High School, where flags flew at half staff yesterday in his honor. The team captain as a senior, he made a lasting impression by showing interest in players nobody else seemed to notice

Tyler Frew, a freshman when Cpl. Kenny was a senior, said he broke down and cried behind the bleachers after his first grueling practice. In a two-page letter delivered yesterday to the Kenny family, Tyler remembered how Cpl. Kenny sought him out and reassured him, telling him the practice had not been so bad and that he could make it if he tried.

Tyler said he never forgot those words of encouragement, or the fact that the bruising 230-pound senior tackle had cared enough to worry about the feelings of a timid freshman.

"I'm a better person for meeting him," Tyler, now a senior wide receiver and the Avonworth team captain, said in an interview.

Avonworth football coach Jason Kekseo said Cpl. Kenny had the talent to play Division II or III college football but never seriously considered the idea.

"He was a tough kid, very strong, and he had a good work ethic," Coach Kekseo said. "But he was so committed to joining the military that I don't think he ever really thought about college."

Cpl. Kenny graduated from Avonworth High in 2003 but missed the commencement ceremony. School administrators handed him his diploma a few days early so he could leave for Marine boot camp as soon as he finished his last class. He was that gung-ho about becoming an infantryman in wartime.

Katy Kenny said her brother had a lifelong interest in military service. He read about the Civil War with a scholar's passion and loved GI Joe action figures. He became so obsessive about the military that he even wore GI Joe briefs, relatives said.

Cpl. Kenny was in his second tour in Iraq. The first brought him to the city of Fallujah, not far from the spot where he died. Though he worked in war zones where bombings and death are common, Cpl. Kenny told his family not to worry about him.

"He always told my mom he would come home and find a wife, and they would give her pretty grandchildren," Katy Kenny said. "That's all he really wanted."

Cpl. Kenny's body was still in Iraq yesterday, so funeral arrangements had not been made. In addition to his parents and Katy, he is survived by two other sisters, Molly, 21, and Maggie, 23.

Chuck Kenny said he supported both his son and daughter when they decided to join the Marines. But now, he said, he must insist that Katy serve her country some place besides a war zone.

"I told her she ain't goin' to Iraq," Mr. Kenny said.

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