FRANKLIN, MA, USA U.S. Army SSG, COMPANY A, 3D BATTALION, 10TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, FORT CARSON, CO BAQUBAH, IRAQ 08/15/2007
An Army Special Forces Soldier was killed in Iraq Aug. 15 when his patrol made contact with the enemy in the Diyala Province.
Staff Sergeant Robert R. Pirelli, 29, a Special Forces engineer sergeant assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, Colo., was fatally wounded by enemy small arms fire during a dismounted attack on an enemy position.
He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2007 as a member of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force “ Arabian Peninsula. This was his first deployment to Iraq.
Pirelli, a native of Franklin, Mass., volunteered for military service and entered the Army in Dec. 2003 as a special forces recruit or 18X (18 “x-ray”). After graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course, he was assigned to 3rd Bn., 10th SFG(A) at Fort Carson, Colo., in June 2006.
Robert R. Pirelli wanted to be a Secret Service agent and joined the Army in 2003. In a family of Marines, that triggered some ribbing from his father and four uncles. That is until he worked his way up to the Special Forces. We teased him about it, then we kind of excused him when he went into the Green Berets, said Jimmy Pirelli, an uncle.
He had me convinced he was bulletproof, said his brother, Shawn Pirelli. He was the beacon of fearlessness and strength. In a strange way, I am still convinced he is bulletproof.
In high school, his hockey teammates voted him the Most Improved Player his junior year and their Unsung Hero his senior year.
Pirelli studied criminal justice at Northeastern University and played hockey there too, graduating in 2001. He gave it everything he had on the ice, said teammate Chris Pelley. But he did that with everything in life.
The Staff Sergeant Robert Pirelli Veteran’s Memorial Skating Arena was rededicated to honor the memory of the fallen Medal of Valor recipient and former Franklin Panther. The arena was completed in 1973, opened to the public on June 2, 1973. It was built under the direction of Governor Francis Sargent and the Commissioner of Natural Resources, Arthur Bromwell, and the effort of Representative George Woods.
Pirelli is survived by his parents, Robert and Nancy Pirelli; brother Shawn, and sister Stacey, of Franklin, Mass. His awards and decorations include two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.