Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Marine Cpl. Philip G. E. Charte

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Philip G. E. Charte, 22, of Goffstown, N.H.

Cpl. Charte was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Sept. 7, 2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

A stone's throw from the Vermont border, a U.S. Marine Corps flag hangs at the Salem NY home where the family of Cpl. Philip Gerald Eichner Charte mourns his death.

"My son, Philip, served his country with courage, honor, and distinction. He was a great son, brother, nephew, uncle, and friend and he will be sorely missed," said Philip’s father Philip Charte.

Cpl. Philip Charte, whose family resides in Salem NY, died Monday supporting U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, television news reports in Albany and New Hampshire, where Charte had lived, said late Tuesday. He was shot in the neck.

Charte grew up in Cambridge, Washington County, New York before moving to New Hampshire in 2007, WXXA 23 reported, citing a family friend. He graduated from Goffstown High School, according to the WMUR website in New Hampshire, which confirmed Charte's death through a congresswoman in New Hampshire.

"I'm very, very proud of what he did," said Josh Rouille, who said Charte had been his best friend since fourth grade. "It's hard. You wish it could be a different way, but he definitely gave everything he had, as he always did." Rouille said Charte was always ready to help someone else, and it was no surprise he wanted to be a Marine.

Philip Gerald Eichner Charte used wrestling and the Marine Corps to overcome challenges and better his life, those who knew him said Wednesday.

Charte had lived in Washington County on and off. He attended Cambridge NY schools in grades five through nine before moving to New Hampshire and winning a state high school wrestling championship in 2006, school officials said.

He joined the Marine Corps in June 2007 -- on the same day he graduated from Goffstown High School, located near Manchester, N.H. He was promoted to corporal three years later.

Charte served in Iraq from August 2008 to March 2009, and in June was assigned to Afghanistan, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin said from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Charte worked as a rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.

Those who knew the super fit corporal said that Charte had lived with his uncle in New Hampshire after his mother passed away in Cambridge in 2005.

They painted a picture of a dedicated and strong young man -- a 5'8'' "pit bull" -- who conquered New Hampshire's wrestling championship in the 135-pound division as a high school junior. Charte gravitated to wrestling because it allowed him an outlet in lieu of academics, which didn't come easily for him, said Todd Lavallee, his wrestling coach at Goffstown.

The sport and the military fulfilled Charte's competitive spirit and allowed him to develop skills that furthered his life and career, school officials said. "He worked hard for what he had, and was a very passionate, purposeful and physical human being," Lavallee said. "Those were his strengths."

Goffstown High School Principal Frank McBride remembered Charte receiving a huge round of applause at the class of 2007's graduation because Charte was leaving that evening to join the military.

"He was a real gentleman, a soft, quiet kid who had a real fire to compete underneath," McBride said. Wrestling made Charte tick, and teachers respected him because he tried really hard in the classroom, the principal said.

Wrestling became Charte's support system, and the Marines later filled that void, Lavallee recalled. "Phil brought out the best in Goffstown and Goffstown brought out the best in Phil," he said.

Charte earned the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

It was not known when his body will return to the Capital Region. Those who knew him speculated that funeral services would be held in the Capital Region.

Charte is the fourth member of the armed forces from the Capital Region to die in Afghanistan since June.

Charte's sister, Alicia, and father, also named Philip, continue to live in Washington County. His mother, Anne Eichner, died in 2005.

A family friend, Eve Kennedy, said arrangements for a local burial were still being made. Services will likely be held at the Ackley & Ross Funeral Home in Cambridge NY late next week, she said.

Marine Cpl. Philip G. E. Charte was killed in action on 9/7/10.

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