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thedrifter
03-12-09, 06:53 AM
Ocala Marine's death in Iraq investigated
Susan Jacobson | Sentinel Staff Writer
March 12, 2009

Becoming a Marine was a lifelong dream for Patrick A. Malone, 21, of Ocala.

His family was worried about the danger, especially after Sept.11, 2001, and tried to change his mind. But Malone, who dressed up in military garb for Halloween when he was 8 years old, insisted. He joined the Corps on Sept.7, 2007.

On Tuesday, the lance corporal died in Al Anbar province in Iraq in what the government described as a "non-hostile" incident. The circumstances are under investigation.

Malone was a rare mix of intuition, patience, kindness and physicality, said his sister, Jennifer Hopper of Kingston, N.Y. Close to his nieces, nephews and younger cousins, he loved to roughhouse with the kids but also had a knack for making people feel safe.



"He never wanted to be a hero, I think," said Hopper, who for four years also served in the Marines. "But he's always been very caring and always wanted to help people. He was always a protector."

A karate enthusiast who was close to becoming a black belt, Malone chose the Marines because it has a reputation as the toughest branch of the service, his sister said. He also was following in the footsteps of a grandfather who was a naval officer.

"He [Malone] believed in serving [his country] and fighting for the people he loved," Hopper said.

Malone's eclectic interests included reading philosophy and meditating. He loved adventure, too. For his 22nd birthday in May, Hopper planned to take him sky diving near her home when he came to visit during a scheduled break.

Malone was assigned to 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., and was an anti-tank missileman.

He also is survived by his parents, Neida Lucy Malone and Damian Malone of Ocala; sister Andrea Pietronuto of Pelham, N.Y.; and grandmothers, Iris Serrano of Ocala and Antonia Malone of Middletown, N.J.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Susan Jacobson can be reached at sjacobson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-540-5981.

Ellie