Pfc. Vincent M. Frassetto
Hometown: Toms River, New Jersey, U.S.
Age: 21 years old
Died: September 7, 2006 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Marines, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Birth: Mar. 11, 1985
New Jersey, USA
Death: Sep. 7, 2006
Al Anbar, Iraq
Pfc. Vincent M. Frassetto, 21, of Toms River, N.J., died Sept. 7 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Surviving are his parents, John and Teresa Frassetto; his brother, Marine Sgt. John P. Frassetto of Toms River, who is on active duty in Iraq; his sisters and brother-in-law, Gina and Luis Ortiz of Orange, Calif., and Alyssa Frassetto of Toms River, now a student at Rowan University, Glassboro; his paternal grandfather, John Frassetto of Toms River; and maternal grandmother, Elaine Conenello of Montvale.
Saint Josephs Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleums
New Jersey, USA
`Selfless' Marine laid to rest
21-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb days after arriving in Iraq
By JOHN WIHBEY
Sitting graveside, Teresa Frassetto was given the American flag.
First she hugged its presenter, her son's Marine commander.
Then she cradled the fabric triangle as if it were the baby, Vincent Michael Frassetto, she bore 21 years ago. And she smiled.
In an emotional farewell, Marine Pfc. "Vinnie" Frassetto, 21, a handsome, cheerful native son of Toms River who was killed in Iraq Sept. 7, was buried yesterday with full military honors.
"Vinnie will continue to be our war hero," the Rev. Louis Kralovich told more than 800 people at St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River who had come together for the funeral mass.
Frassetto died in Anbar province when his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb, military officials said. A member of the 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Frassetto had been in Iraq for less than three weeks when he was killed.
He was the 59th service member with ties to New Jersey killed in Iraq since the war began three years ago.
Marine Sgt. John Frassetto, Vincent's 25-year-old brother, returned from his own tour of duty in Iraq to help bury his brother. John Frassetto accepted a Purple Heart on his brother's behalf at the Friday wake.
John Frassetto stood composed at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Toms River as his fellow Marine officers folded the American flag draping his brother's casket. Marine Lt. Col. Pete Keating gave the keepsake to Teresa Frassetto as bagpipes wailed and a crisp breeze snapped dozens of flags held by mourners.
"He was a good Marine, very well-liked by his fellow Marines because he was dependable, reliable and completely selfless," Keating said after the burial. The brothers' devotion to the Marines was "a testament to the family's character and belief in this country," Keating said.
After enlisting in the Marines in 2004, Frassetto jumped at the chance for a mission in Iraq -- following his older brother just as he had followed him in joining the football team at Toms River High School North -- instead of waiting for a later assignment with his unit, his parents said in interviews earlier last week.
"He loved life and enjoyed himself. He lived it to the fullest," his father, John Frassetto, said.
Dave Majowicz, 21, who went to high school with Frassetto, described his friend as an upbeat guy who "always had a smile on his face.
Yesterday's mass in St. Luke's modern, light-filled sanctuary was a stirring song- and incense-filled ceremony presided over by nine clergymen, including Trenton Bishop John M. Smith.
Smith told mourners that Frassetto's body was draped yesterday with the white garment given to him at his baptism, which also took place at St. Luke's. "He is now in the community of saints in heaven," the bishop said.
Frassetto's parents, along with his sisters, Gina and Alyssa, sat in the front pews. Surrounding them were throngs of blue-uniformed Marine officers, police and emergency service workers and groups of leather-clad motorcyclists who came to pay their respects.
Outside, flags covered the church front and fire truck ladders formed a flag-draped arch over the parking lot entrance.
A long motorcade to the cemetery drew scores of citizens to their front lawns, many solemnly waving flags and saluting the fallen soldier. As the procession passed Toms River High School North, hundreds of students -- including football players who wore their jerseys to honor Frassetto's time on the team -- waved flags.
Frassetto, whose mother said he prided himself on his "lady killer" smile, played football his freshman year of high school. But a neck injury ended his career.
"I think that might have been the only time he was upset," said Dan Muller, 22, a former classmate and now a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Before leaving for the Middle East, Frassetto had an image of the "Angel of Death" holding a sword tattooed on the right flank of his abdomen, his parents said. According to his mother, he said its purpose was to steel him for his mission: "That's what I'm bringing to the Iraqi (insurgents.)"
Frassetto spent his first week in Iraq training, then began carrying out escort missions in support of U.S. and Iraqi troops.
He was killed instantly when an improvised explosive tore through his armored Humvee in Anbar province, a Sunni stronghold and hotbed of insurgent activity, said Keating, whose command is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Anbar, in western Iraq, is "probably a little more dangerous than other parts of the country," Keating said.
Frassetto was the first soldier in his 600-Marine unit to be killed in Iraq, his commanding officer said.