Friday, January 11, 2008

Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini

Remember Our Heroes

Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, of Wilcox, Pa.

Lt. Col. Berrettini was assigned to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Medical Detachment, Erie Clinic, Erie, Pa.; died Jan. 11, 2008 in San Antonio of wounds sustained Jan. 2 in Khowst province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Guardsman dies from injuries sustained in Afghanistan
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A soldier has died in Texas from combat injuries he suffered in Afghanistan, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard announced Jan. 13.

Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, from Eldred, McKean County, died Jan. 11, nine days after the attack, which also killed an interpreter and South Carolina National Guard Sgt. Shawn F. Hill, 37, of Wellford, S.C.

Berrettini was scheduled to return home at the end of the month after a year in Afghanistan. A nurse practitioner, he had volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. In civilian life, Berrettini was a Port Allegany High School nurse.

He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1984 and was a former active duty sailor.

“He was a very good man, very professional, somebody they trusted,” said retired teacher Ron Caskey, a former colleague of Berrettini’s. “He was a confidante.”

Tony Flint, Port Allegany superintendent of schools, said Berrettini had been an elementary school nurse for seven years before becoming a nurse at the high school, where he also worked for seven years.

Berrettini, who died at Brooke Army Medical Center, is survived by his wife, Jane; mother, Doris; brother, Nello; and sons Vincent, 26, and Christopher, 22.

Vincent Berrettini is an Air Force Academy graduate and an Air Force pilot. Christopher Berrettini is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Buffalo News -- A school nurse from McKean County, Pa., who was serving with an Army National Guard unit in Afghanistan has died from injuries he suffered in a roadside bombing, the Pennsylvania National Guard confirmed today.

Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, of Eldred, Pa., was severely injured Jan. 2 in eastern Afghanistan when his Humvee drove by an improvised explosive device, said Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver, public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Berrettini was assigned as a nurse practitioner to the Guard's Medical Detachment Erie Clinic and his 12-month tour of active duty was scheduled to conclude at the end of this month, Cleaver said.

He had been on one of his final missions for the Guard in the Khost province in Afghanistan when he was injured, Cleaver said.

Berrettini had survived the initial bombing although he suffered severe burns to his upper body and internal injuries. He eventually was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, where he died, Cleaver said.

Tony Flint, superintendent of the Port Allegany (Pa.) School District, said staffers there learned of Berrettini's death late Friday morning.

Berrettini was a beloved and respected school nurse in the district for 15 years, the last seven of them at Port Allegany High School.

He had kept in touch with Flint and others in the district, e-mailing photos of himself working with Afghan students as part of his military mission, Flint said.

His last e-mail to Flint, sent just before Christmas, noted that Berrettini would be finished with his tour of duty in a few short weeks.

Berrettini was a Navy veteran. He and his wife, Jane, have two sons, Cleaver said.

Vincent, 26, is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and Christopher, 22, is a graduate of the Military Academy.

Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini was killed in action on 1/11/08.

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