SPRINGFIELD, VA, USA U.S. Marines CPL, G CO, 2D BN, 8TH MAR, (RCT-5, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC AL TAQADDUM, IRAQ 11/24/2006
Nicholas Paul Rapavi was born 26 September 1984. He was the beloved son of Paul Rapavi and and Cathy Rapavi-Burnley and irreplaceable brother of Jonathan and Christopher Rapavi.
The Springfield, Virginia native was friendly, outgoing and a natural leader. He used to crack jokes on his eighth grade English teacher and had many friends at Hayfield Secondary School and Bryant Alternative High School. Early in his life he loved baseball, later he dreamed of becoming a Marine. According to his father, he did everything to prepare for the Marines. He joined Army ROTC, lifted weights, did pushups, and constantly strove to improve himself. When he joined the Marines after graduation in 2003, his friends said, “‘Osama bin Laden’s in trouble now.’ Nobody’s going to get away from Nick.”
He made many more friends during his Marine training. He served three combat tours, twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. He rose to the rank of Corporal and led a squad of as many as 12 Marines during his last tour in Iraq. He gave orders, told people when they screwed up, and questioned officers when he thought they were mistaken. Those in his unit called him the best Marine that could be. Others described him as a great man and a true hero.
He looked upon his fellow Marines as brothers. As a squad leader, his greatest concern was to bring his squad home safely. To keep them safe, he went first through the gate at the Police Headquarters in Saqlawiyah, Iraq into the compound frequently targeted by snipers. While his actions saved his squad, he was not so fortunate. He was the leader of 3rd squad, Second Platoon of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
His platoon leader remembered him as intuitive. His squad members remember his poise and decisiveness. While he was getting ready to leave the Corps to go to college and perhaps become a doctor, he remained committed to his mission until the end. He was 22 years old when he died on 24 November 2006. He was proud to serve his country and a blessing to his parents, brothers, grandparents, friends, and community.
(Sources: Marine’s funeral proceeds with dignity By AILEEN M. STRENG Courtesy of the Potomas News Saturday, December 9, 2006; Springfield Marine dies in Iraq
He had planned to leave the Corps, go to college and maybe re-enlist BY TINA ESHLEMAN COURTESY OF THE TIMES-DISPATCH 28 November 2006; “He Never Took His Pack Off”-LA Times Tom Perry, 25 December 2006; Va. Marine, Killed in Iraq, Is Recalled for Selflessness By Martin Weil Washington Post Staff Writer, November 28, 2006)