View Full Version : Marine gave his life for comrade

01-15-06, 07:56 AM
Marine gave his life for comrade
Sunday, January 15, 2006
By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- By all accounts, Marine Cpl. Albert Gettings would have been embarrassed by his final salute.

The 500 people who filled every pew of Mary, Mother of Hope Parish stood and applauded him yesterday, providing a thunderous ending to his funeral.

This tribute came at the urging of Joseph Palimino, brother-in-law of Cpl. Gettings. Mr. Palimino said Cpl. Gettings would have blushed at such lavish attention, but he deserved it.

Enemy snipers killed Cpl. Gettings on Jan. 5 while he was leading his squad on patrol through the streets of Fallujah, Iraq. What isn't generally known, Mr. Palimino said, is that Cpl. Gettings provided covering fire for a fellow Marine after both of them were wounded.

Cpl. Gettings' bravery helped save the other man, but cost him his life, Mr. Palimino said. He added that his account of the gunfight came from Marine Corps officers who shared particulars with the family.

Cpl. Gettings was 27 and had been married less than eight months. He joined the Marines in 2002, motivated by the terrorist attacks of the previous year. His tour in Iraq began in September and was to end in March.

An uncle, Michael Occhibone, said the Marine Corps was a good match for Cpl. Gettings, even in time of war.

Mr. Occhibone remembered that Cpl. Gettings had a streak of wildness as a teenager. It was nothing serious, Mr. Occhibone said, but it provided a primer for the family on how young people tend to rebel.

After Cpl. Gettings enlisted in the Marines, he found himself and his sense of purpose.

"It gave him confidence and focus that never wavered," Mr. Occhibone said.

Military training also seemed to help him mature personally. Mr. Occhibone said Cpl. Gettings was unfailingly respectful and kind. This was especially evident in his treatment of his wife, Stephanie.

"He never said a negative thing toward her," Mr. Occhibone said.

It seemed that everybody in New Castle knew Cpl. Gettings or Stephanie. Almost every member of their families still lives in town.

The Rev. Victor J. Molka Jr., pastor of Mary, Mother of Hope, said Cpl. Gettings' death has been the foremost topic in New Castle for a week.

"The shock of this tragedy has stunned the whole community," Father Molka said. "There is an air of unreality about it."

At once, he said, all the newspaper stories and television reports about fallen soldiers from other towns became relevant.

So shaken was Father Molka that he asked fellow priests to join him at the Mass of Christian Burial. He said he needed their support so he could carry out the service for Cpl. Gettings, the first serviceman from Lawrence County to die in the Iraqi war.

(Milan Simonich can be reached at msimonich@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1956.)


01-21-06, 02:12 PM
It definitely was a sad day when we heard the Cpl. Albert Gettings was killed while in Iraq with the Marines - one of those days that all parents dread - that another fallen hero has passed. From what I understand, Albert was the first Marine from Lawrence County to be killed in combat in 30 years. He is the same age as my son, currently with the Air Force Security Forces in Afghanstan and I can only imagine the hurt that his parents have come to know these past couple of weeks. New Castle, Pa. , known as the "Fireworks Capital of America" is known for its yearly Fireworks Festival that lights up the skies every July and Christmas Times with every color and sound imaginable. I'm sure that Albert will be sorely missed by all - and next time we see a 12" shell explode and paint the sky with its majesty I'm sure he will be up in Heaven enjoying the "Show" with all of his Marine buddies. He had only been married for about 8 months and due to come home in a couple of weeks. He was a Marine of the finest cabliber, a war hero, a son, husband, a respected leader, and a well-loved man. I'd say that is some excellent credentials for entering the "Golden Gates"- I'd almost bet that those gates would already be open when he arrives with other Marines waving him on in!! SF

01-21-06, 03:27 PM
Semper Fi Marine ...Rest in Peace.

01-22-06, 02:34 AM
Semper Fi My Brother rest easy and in peace

01-29-06, 09:42 PM
There is no greater love than for a man to lay his life down for anothers...

Semper Fidelis big brother...

01-29-06, 10:24 PM