Sunday, April 02, 2006

Marine Cpl. Scott J. Procopio

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Scott J. Procopio, 20, of Saugus, Mass.

Cpl. Procopio was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed April 2 while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province, Iraq. Also killed were: Lance Cpl. Jacob W. Beisel, Lance Cpl. Kun Y. Kim and Staff Sgt. Eric A. McIntosh.

Saugus mourns for fallen son
Marine corporal, 20, is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq
By Megan Tench, Globe Staff | April 4, 2006

SAUGUS -- Even as a young man, Scott Procopio wasn't much of a dreamer.

When he wanted something, he would usually just go and get it, his family and friends said yesterday. So on the day in 2003 when the broad-shouldered family man decided to join the war in Iraq, no one dared to stop him.

''He walked straight into the recruitment office and he said 'You don't have to give me any of your speeches,' " his older brother, Michael, recalled yesterday. ''He told them, he wanted to sign up, and he wanted to sign up for the infantry."

Today, the town of Saugus is in mourning. Flags are at half-staff, and residents are struggling to understand what happened.

Marine Corporal Scott Procopio was killed in enemy action Sunday.

He was a machine gunner on a team patrol in a Humvee in Ramadi, a group of Marines told the family Sunday night. The 20-year-old newlywed was killed by a roadside bomb. It was his second tour of duty, relatives said.

Just six months ago, Procopio was celebrating his marriage to his longtime sweetheart, Kristal Cerbone. Voted most eligible bachelor in high school and known for his easy spirit and love of cars, Procopio returned to the front lines on March 6.

''Kris is trying to hold it together," Michael Procopio said.

And the rest of the family is trying to remain strong, the way his brother would have liked them to, he said.

''Scott was committed to getting the job done over there," said Kevin Procopio, Scott's father. ''And he saw a change in the Iraqis."

While joining the Marines was not a lifelong dream, his family said, he wanted the challenge, he loved his country, and he wanted to make a difference in the world.

''He was always talking about the kids over there, coming up to him giving him water or flowers," said his brother. ''They would climb all over him. He was my best friend. We are very proud of him."

Kevin Procopio said he and Scott's mother, Mary, are comforted by Scott's faith in God.

''When he was 12, he came to know Jesus Christ as his own personal savior," his father said. ''He knew he was going to heaven. It just gave him confidence while he was over there."

It was a somber scene at Saugus High School yesterday. Teachers broke down in tears when they heard the news. Scott Procopio was a popular student with many, many friends, staff members said.

''Scott was a gentleman," said Gabriel Valeiro, who taught Italian during Procopio's sophomore year.

''He had straight A's, and I knew he was going to be very, very successful," Valeiro said. ''And he loved his country. That's why I cried when I heard this morning."

Counselors were made available to students and staff yesterday. Procopio's younger brother Mark, 15, is a student at the school. He also has another brother, Gregory, 17.

At his desk, principal Joseph Diorio kept open the yearbook from the class of 2003, the year that Procopio graduated.

He read Procopio's entry as a reflection of Scott's engaging personality: ''When all is said and done, the class of 2003 is like pasta. Some are long, short, hollow, and twisted, but with a little cheese sauce, we are all the same."

Marine Cpl. Scott J. Procopio was killed in action on 04/02/06.

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