Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marine Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott, 23, of Manchester, N.J.

Cpl Ott was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Aug. 10, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Cpl Ott graduated from Manchester Township High School in 2005 where he lettered in football, wrestling and track.

Cpl Ott's death also comes a year after another former Manchester High School student, Army Sgt. Ron Kubik, was killed in Afghanistan.

After graduating high school, Ott enrolled at Ocean County College, but there was no doubt he wanted to join the military, friend Ashley Nowakowski said. It was what Ott wanted to do and where he wanted to be. "He was gung-ho. He was a real soldier," she said.

His battalion deployed in April and was assigned to the Garmsir District of the country. There, Marines helped maintain roads and bridges, and took part in community-building operations such as school and soccer field construction.

Every time Ott returned home to New Jersey, he would make sure to visit his high school friends. We’d all get together and have a party for him," Ashley said. "He was just such a fun-loving guy, a lovable guy. He was big teddy bear."

Cpl Ott joined the Marines in September 2007. He was assigned to his unit in 2010. He had previously been deployed, but this was his first deployment to Afghanistan.

Alexander George, principal of Manchester Township High School, said that Ott always had a smile on his face. "He was just a great kid," George said. "He was a kid who had a contagious smile."

George said that Ott was "taken from us so soon." George said that a sense of "tremendous sadness" was sensed through the office.

"Everybody's just remembering what a fun-loving, always-smiling, happy kid he was at the high school, and what a big part of the school he was while he was there," he said.

"He had so much to offer and so much to give. But certainly, there's a tremendous sense of pride in regards to his defending his country and what it stands for. He had so much to offer and was such a good kid."

"To lose another student like this. It’s very difficult," said Keith Lister, the high school’s athletic director. "He was a hard-working kid, team-oriented and willing to do whatever the coaches asked of him," he said.

Former high school football coach, Gerard O'Donnell, said, "When we teach them, we see them as high school kids and they do high school things. Now, he was an adult, a man. He was focused."

Friend and former teammate, Jeff Moore said, "There was a time when I ran into some problems, and was thinking about quitting the team," said Moore. "He talked to me about it, helped me through it, and I stayed."

Cpl Ott's awards and decorations include:

Purple Heart
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (2)
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Good Conduct Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Bronze Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbons with Two Bronze Stars
Rifle Marksman Badge
Pistol Marksman Badge

Cpl Ott is survived by his parents, Debra and Stephen; sister Julia; maternal grandmother Janet; paternal grandparents, Paul and Jacqueline.

Marine Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott was killed in action on 8/10/11.

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