Friday, October 01, 2010

Marine Sgt. Anthony D. Matteoni

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Anthony D. Matteoni, 22, of Union City, Mich.

Sgt. Matteoni was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Oct. 1, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Tucked away in a closet at Russ Raymond's Union City home is Tony Matteoni's varsity letter jacket from Union City High School, a glistening "U.S.M.C." pin stuck to the jacket's front.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tony Matteoni, 22, died Friday in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. On Monday, Raymond said the pin reminded him of the zeal the 2006 Union City graduate had for serving his country.

"He was a patriot," said Raymond, Matteoni's former high school teacher and longtime family friend. "He wanted to serve."

Raymond said this was Matteoni's first tour in the Middle East since he joined the armed forces straight out of high school, though he had toured Europe.

Matteoni was married this summer to Lindsy Matteoni and the couple is expecting a baby girl in February, Raymond said. Contact information for Lindsy Matteoni was unavailable Monday evening.

Reached at the Winter Springs, Florida home of the Marine's parents, younger brother Joey Matteoni declined to speak with a reporter but said a service would be held in Kalamazoo at a later date.

Matteoni's parents, Dennis and Angie Matteoni, were traveling Monday to claim the Marine's body and organize funeral arrangements. Matteoni had four siblings. Raymond said a community event is being planned in Matteoni's honor for later this week.

Matteoni was the second Union City native to die in the United States' war on terror and his death came as the community still mourned the Sept. 15 death of Athens native Jimmy Hansen, 25, a senior airman with the U.S. Air Force who was killed in Iraq.

Union City's Lance Cpl. Craig Watson, 21, of the U.S. Marines became the first local casualty of the war when he was killed in December 2005 in Iraq.

"It's very sad," Raymond said. "Union City has certainly contributed our people."

Matteoni's death makes six locals who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The others were Battle Creek Army Pfc. Bryan Thomas, 22, who died in September 2008; Battle Creek Army Staff Sgt. Michael Dickinson, 26, who was killed in July 2006; and Climax Marine Lance Cpl. Jason Little, 20, who died in January 2006.

Matteoni lived with Raymond the last semester of his senior year of high school, finishing out his education at Union City while his parents moved to Florida, Raymond said.

"Friend" is the first word that comes to mind when the former teacher hears his former pupil's name. "He was very friendly and outgoing," Raymond said. "He was well-liked and a hard worker."

Raymond said Matteoni decided to join the Marines when he was a high school freshman. That was when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks happened.

Matteoni's grandparents live in New York City and "he said he wanted to join the Marines because of the way that (Sept. 11 attacks) moved him," Raymond said.

In high school, Matteoni ran track and liked art. Raymond still has a clay television the boy made in elementary school.

"I'm just heartbroken," Raymond said. "Devastated."

Marine Sgt. Anthony D. Matteoni was killed in action on 10/1/10.

No comments: