Sunday, December 05, 2010

Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman, 24, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sgt Aleman was assigned to Deployment Processing Command-East, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Dec. 5, 2010 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Jason A. Reeves.

A young Marine who grew up in a military family in Brooklyn was killed by a suicide bomber — ambushed while sleeping in an encampment in Afghanistan, said US officials and the man’s stunned family yesterday.

"His parents are devastated," said Maria Aleman, the grieving great-aunt of slain Sgt. Nicholas Aleman, 24, who died Sunday near the war-torn country’s border with Pakistan.

Nicholas — who grew up on Manhattan Avenue and graduated from Midwood HS — entered the Marines right after high school, his family said.

"Trust me — just to look at Nick’s dad, you could see he was so proud, because [the father] loved his country and he saw his son doing something positive for himself," said a cousin, Alex Aleman.

Both of Nicholas’ sisters also are in the military — one in the Army and one in the Marines, Alex Aleman said. One of the sisters is about a month away from giving birth, he said.

The young man’s shattered parents flew to a US base Monday to claim his body for burial and had not yet returned, relatives said.

The Marine had been in Afghanistan only two or three months when he was killed, they said.

Alex Aleman said his cousin was the only one murdered in the attack. "He was asleep. It was one in the morning," the cousin said. "He’s 6’2" and fit. If he had been awake, he could have defended himself."

Nicholas had been assigned to the Deployment Processing Command-East at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before being sent oversees.

His cousin said Nicholas had briefly left the Marines at one point after high school to study politics at Fordham University in Manhattan but then decided to rejoin the military.

"He wanted to become a officer," Alex Aleman said. "The guy was very smart. He liked what he was doing."

Maria Aleman added: "Nicholas was never afraid. He planned to make [the military] his career."

In March 2007, while with the Corps, Nicholas Aleman was interviewed for an article featured on the Marines Web site, about an ironman competition in California, where he volunteered to help with crowd control.

"As Marines, we are constantly training because its part of our daily routine and we need to be ready," Nicholas Aleman said at the time. "To see people that work so hard because they have a passion for it is inspiring."

Nicholas’s relatives told them that he hoped the tour in Afghanistan would only last a year and that he’d be back by summer, before his 25th birthday in September. "We got the news Sunday afternoon," said Alex Aleman, who served in the Navy. "I came home, and I saw my cousin’s sister crying."

Alex said that when Nicholas left for Afghanistan, "We just said, ‘Be careful, be good and good luck.’

"Until I see him at the funeral and everyone crying, I won’t believe it."

"We weren't expecting this, especially at this time of year," said the man's uncle, 36-year-old Jose Caba. "But that's life. He signed up to do this.

"We're really very sad," he continued. "But we're proud of him. He was a really good boy."

According to an aunt, Marine officials arrived at the father's Brownsville home on Monday with word of Aleman's death a day earlier. The late Marine had long wanted to enlist in the armed forces while growing up, relatives said.

Family members gathered at dad Jose Aleman's residence as word spread about Nicholas, who was assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

"He was just a normal kid, a great boy...very intelligent," said his aunt, Evonne Torres. "He liked to have fun. He loved to go out."

Another aunt, Lourdes Torres, recalled her nephew as a skinny kid with a big appetite - particularly for fried plantains and pork chops.

He mainly lived with his father in Brooklyn, while his mother and sister moved to Kansas after the parents split up, relatives said. The family originally came to New York from Honduras. Nicholas Aleman moved into his own Brooklyn apartment earlier this year.

Neighbors there remembered him as a kind soul who took in a stray dog - a little black terrier that he named Blackjack. "It was his favorite thing," one neighbor said. "He loved him." The neighbor recalled that Aleman departed abruptly in August, never to return.

Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman was killed in action on 12/05/10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just orderd A momerial dog tag with his name on it. I'm only in highschool but I am hoping to join the marines in a few years so godbless and You will not be forgotten.