LANSING, IL, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, B CO, 1ST BN, 1ST MAR, (RCT-5, I MEF FWD), CAMP PENDLETON, CA AL KARMAH, IRAQ 04/08/2006
Lance Corporal Philip J. Martini was killed by sniper fire in Anbar Province, Iraq. He died April 8, 2006. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. He and his squad were trying to bail out a command post that was overrun by enemy troops It was Martini’s second tour in Iraq.
The competitive high-school athlete became a battle-tested squad leader. This process started when he and two high-school buddies signed up for the service in 2003. His military test scores were high and he wanted to be an infantryman and make a difference. He was a hard-core Bears fan–who had a team belt buckle so big it made him look “like a Texan” quickly grew to love the camaraderie of the Marines according to his father. His Marine Corps brotherhood was important to him.
The twenty-four year old Marine was a 2000 graduate of Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois. He played football and baseball at Thornton. He was a “wild guy” who was popular and loved to have a good time. He had three brothers–James, 30, Anthony, 26, and Joseph, 13–and called his mother, Laura, one of his heroes.
He paid pay close attention to the Afghan civilians around them and spoke fondly of an Iraqi girl he had befriended. He even discussed adopting her with his girlfriend. Perhaps the most dramatic announcement came when he told his family that he wanted to become a social worker after he left the Marines.
“We had a son who went from somebody who really wasn’t sure he knew where he was going … to a fine, outstanding, proud individual,” his father said.