THOUSAND OAKS, CA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, F CO, 2D BN, 4TH MAR, 1ST MAR DIV, MCB CAMP PENDLETON, CA AR RAMADI, IRAQ 01/27/2007
Before he was deployed, Anthony Melia promised to marry his girlfriend, Jamie Chunko, the day he returned. I told him I’m going to bring the reverend in the car when we pick him up, Chunko said.
Melia, 20, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was shot to death while on patrol Jan. 27 in Anbar province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
Melia dreamed of joining the military at age 10. At 17, Melia asked his parents to sign the enlistment form, but Mike Melia said he told his son to wait until he turned 18.
After his 2005 graduation, Melia, a defensive back and punt and kick returner in high school, traded in his white-and-green number 6 football jersey for the Marines’ blue uniform.
Even though he was in Iraq, Melia made sure his 3-year-old nephew, Nicholas, got a Spider-Man blanket from him for Christmas. When he wasn’t fighting, he found a computer and ordered that for Nicholas, said Vicki Melia.
He was just the brightest light there was, Mike Melia said. He was a Marine, but he was much more than that. He was just an incredible human being.
He also is survived by his mother, Vicki.