Alberto Francesconi

Alberto Francesconi

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U.S. Marines

Lance Corporal Alberto Francesconi, USMC became the first 2009 U.S. casualty in Afghanistan when a land mine ended his young life. Alberto tops that heartbreaking list. Those that knew and loved him, however, will not remember him for that distinction.

Home was an apartment building in a Bronx neighborhood near Webster Park. He graduated from high school in 2005 and became a personal banker with Bank of America. In December 2006, Alberto married his teenage sweetheart, Cynthia. “He always wanted to strive a little bit more – to make it easier for his family.” They hoped to start their own family when Alberto returned from his tour. He used to say, “What better foundation than the military,” his wife recalled.

Despite an 18-year age difference, Alberto was very close to his older brother, Robert Rivera. A Navy reservist, Robert recalls a patriotic and fiercely loyal younger brother. “He was an inspiration,” who was always “. . . one for enjoying life to the fullest.” Alberto desperately sought to follow his older sibling. The two had wanted to serve together.

Alberto, a scout sniper, was a treasured member of his unit, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. He had previously survived a combat tour in Iraq. Southern Helmand Province in Afghanistan, however, had become increasingly dangerous. The intensity of ground operations were not lost on Alberto. Shortly before deploying, he told his wife Cynthia, “Just in case I don’t come home, I want to be buried with my grandmother.”

On Friday, 9 January 2009, family and friends gathered at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church to say goodbye to Lance Corporal Alberto Francesconi. Rene Martinez, a Navy medic, served with Francesconi. He sang “Ave Maria” and “Amazing Grace” in honor of his fallen comrade. “He will be missed,” said Marine Cpl. Alfonso Matos, who served in the same battalion with Alberto in Iraq. “He was motivated, dedicated. He loved what he did. He was a good kid.”

Later they laid Alberto in his final resting place at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx. Alberto’s grandmother is close by – keeping a watchful eye. Marine, your mission is now complete. You can stand down and rest in peace.

Alberto’s portrait is also located on Poster 7


One Response to “Alberto Francesconi”
  1. George Hood says:

    I was a civilian law enforcement professional assigned to the SPMAGTF at the time this young Marine was killed. I was a former Marine officer and spent my civilian career as a federal agent with NCIS and ultimately DEA. I had just retired from DEA when I took on the LEP role as a contractor with the SPMAGTF. I’ve often wondered about the family of this Marine since then and the legacy left by this Marine. I had to go online and look him up and when I saw the name I remembered it and recalled the Chaplain speaking of him at the ramp ceremony. I recall it was a cold New Years eve when I got the word about the incident at Nowzad and the ramp ceremony for Alberto was the first of many that I ended up witnessing at Kandahar. I remember there were other Marines with him that night and I believe they sustained very serious injuries and I often wonder how they are doing. I was indeed humbled by the sheer bravery of Alberto and the circumstances of his death will remain with me forever. I always recall him as the first casualty that I was aware of when I got in country with the SPMAGTF. The S-3 at the SPMAGTF now Colonel Jeff Holt is a friend of mine who I often aligned myself with at the HQ’s at KAF. Col Holt will be assuming command of the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton on Aug 11th and I’ll be at his change of command. It will be the first time I’ve seen Col Holt since we parted ways in Afghanistan. I’ll just never forget the brave sacrifice of Alberto Francesconi and I want the family to know that. I now have 2 sons who are Marine officers….my oldest Christopher is a Captain Infantry type currently in Afghanistan and my youngest is a 2nd Lt at Camp Pendleton. My middle son is a police officer in Illinois. I’ll always be close to our beloved Marine Corps and want the family to know that i’ll never forget their son. I cant pretend to know how it is to lose a loved one under the circumstances that came upon Alberto but I take great comfort in knowing that wherever he is now, he is smiling and forever proud of his Marine Corps and those who have followed in his footsteps. He is indeed in a better place and just wont be forgotten! His family has every right to be proud of this hero! God Bless Alberto….my reaching out is long overdue. Semper Fi!

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