Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio

30, of Milford, Massachusetts.
Fontecchio died from injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on August 4, 2004.

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"I was roommates with him and Applebe in 29 palms we were "boots" together.He was 1 of the most disciplined and squared away marines I have ever met! I respected him more than any other friend I had both professionally and personally I can honestly say I have never met another Marine like him :) On a late saturday night of drinking I remember coming into our room a little rambunctious and Elia of course told me 2 get my act together and set the example for the marines who would be watching me come home :) Any other marine I would have given and your full of advice to think on as well but considering he was ironing is uniforms after midnight on a saturday night I have nothing to say but sorry because he was always right, always squared away, always giving good advice, and doing the right thing for himself and those around him. I just recently heard about his passing I am so sorry for both your family and the Marine Corps he is sorely missed and was always someone I strive to be more like in those times when I needed someone to look up to."
Scott Elkins of Littleton Colorado

"Always Remembered Elia....Rest In Peace"
Mary Costa of Milford MA

"Thinking of you bud - miss you man"
Sgt Henke of Houston, Tx

"Gunny: Still thinking of you. Just like that day, I still can't believe you are no longer with us. I will never forget you and will always remember your sacrifice. I love you man."
Eddie H Kilo of Tampa, Fl

"I just want to thank Elia and the Fontecchio family for their sacrifice and my freedom."
Tim Womack of albuquerque , nm

"May 30, 2011
Remembering Gunny Elia Fontecchio Today
You Are Loved"
Mary(Ramaskewich)Costa of Milford MA

"I pray for the Fontecchoios' during this time of memorial. I hope and pray that they are in good health and know that so many really care for them and have respect their son's service for our freedoms."
tim womack of albuquerque , nm

"Elia,

You are missed greatly and thought of often. Rest in peace, my friend."
Julie Amati of San Diego California

"To the family of:Elia P.Fontecchio
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"3-3-11"

"GySgt Fontecchio, I never met you, I am reminded of you each time I see my son. He and other Marines under your Command in OIF 2 wear a bracelet in your memory each and everyday. May your memory live on and Thank you for fathering our young sons and giving the ultimate sacrafice. God bless"
Frank Lucero of Salt Lake City, Utah

"I first met Elia in 1998 while stationed at AlphaCo MSGBN in Frankfurt Germany. Elia was a sgt then but always displayed the leadership of a SNCO. ELia was hand picked by my co to be the assistant detachment commander for the amercan embassy in sarajevo, bosnia he not only was responsible for making sure that the all the equipment was ordered put he made sure that marines that he didnt even know yet would not want for anything. Elia's efforts and accomplishments did not go un-noticed he was eventually selected and promoted meritoriously to the rank of SSgt. Elia was a true inspiration to many and a person I looked to emulate. I was truly saddened when I returned from Iraq and learned of his passing. He will be forever missed!"
Sgt Mickens of Hillside, NJ

"September 25, 2010
The 7th Annual Memorial Bike Run in honor of Gunny Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio was held today in Milford, MA. Upwards of 225 people attended this event to Honor and Remember Elia. Several Marines who served with Gunny made the trip from across the United States to be with Elias family and friends...Bob Fahey who was the 1st organizer of this annual event joined us in Celebrating the memory of Gunny Fontecchio. We will forever hold Elia in OUR HEARTS."
Mary Costa of Milford MA

"aug/19/10
I was just thinking about the Marines I had met in my service and Ssgt Fontecchio's (2001-2002)place rests in HONOR. I was a squad leader in MRP under his command; his EXAMPLE, STRENGTH of CHARACTER and willingness to HELP the broken Marines in Medical Rehab Platoon Geiger was paramount. He was a model leader, but most of all I remember his COMPASSION and DISCERNMENT when working w/ the injured marines. Some like myself who are now disabled vets hold him in the highest regard.
"MAY HIS MEMORY BE ETERNAL"
God bless his Family.
LCPL MILLER(ret)"
Jonathan Miller of Soddydaisy, TN, USA

"It was 6 years ago today that our hearts were broken forever. You are remembered every day Elia and loved through eternity"
Mary Costa of Milford MA

"As tomarrow comes upon me all i can think of is another yr has passed and it still seems as real as yesterday. you are remembered gunny always and forever. love you bro. we ride for you!!"
Sgt Bobby Moyer of Moore , OK

"OUR GUIDE PLT 1017 DELTA CO. MCRD SAN DIEGO 93)I remembered Fantecchio as our guide during Bootcamp,always had encouraging advise to give and always positve.I'm glad i had the honor of meeting you Fontecchio as a Recruit and three months later As a MARINE. GOD bless you and your Family.
Tommy Ramirez 1017 Delta Co.April19th 1993
leatherneck2531@gmail.com"
TOMMY Ramirez of LOS ANGELES,CA.

"I was with Elia with 2/7 wpns co 81s plt from 93-95 I just was searching the web trying to find some of the guys I havent seen since back when I was in and here i find Elia has passed away, not was i was looking for. Im not suprised to find out Elia stayed in and fought for his country that was the kind of guy he was. I miss you buddy."
Jason Felty of Mead, NE

"September 26, 2009
The 6th Annual Bike Run in Memory of Elia was held today in Milford MA. starting at TD's Pub on Water St.
There were 250+ in attendance to remember Elia.
Forever In Our Hearts"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"As i woke up two days ago and started getting ready for work i look at my phone and see the date is aug 4th. I can still see gunny walking his hummer out of base,and me waiting to fall into the convoy behind him, he looks to the left at me and says oooorahhhh! this thought runs through my mind all the time, i love and miss you gunny."
Sgt Moyer of Moore,OK

"July 29, 1974 - August 4, 2004
Remembering Elia on the 5th Anniversary of his Passing. Forever Loved."
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"July 29, 2009
Remembering Elia on his Birthday.
Forever In Our Hearts
Peace Be With You Elia"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"I am Elias neice and i am almost 12 years old and I was very sad when i heard he had passed away. We were at my big brothers hockey game and it was finished and then right away my grandma called my mom and then she had said meet me at my house and please hurry. We got there and there they were marines and they had said that our uncle had passed away and we all bursted in to tears. I am so proud of what he did for out country! I hope he is safe and healthy wherevere he is in Heaven!"
Izzy fontecchio of Orlando, FL

"May 25, 2009 Memorial Day
Elia... You are in Our Hearts and Thoughts Today and Always."
Mary Costa of MILFORD, MA.

"Brother, I wish you were still here. My children will know your name, you will not be forgotten. The men of Kilo have dedicated ourselves to be better Marines, better fathers, better husbands and better brothers. May we honor your memory by doing so.
Semper Fi Mac"
C. Adam Walker MSgt/USMC of NC

"Gunny-I haven't forgotten........."
Capt Jason R Johnston USMC

"Gunny, you were, are, and always will be one of the best. I know you are keeping the angels squared away up there. Semper Fidelis!"
Capt. Addae Andrews of Jacksonville, Florida

"I am Elias neice and i am 11 years old. I just wanted to say that my uncle was one of the bravest uncle and one of the best uncles anybody could ever have. I was close to him. And when he had passed away i was only at the age of 6 when he passed away and i was really really sad and we all are and i pray every night to make sure he is safe and make sure hes doing well. I hope he is doing well where ever he is in heaven!"
Izzy Fontecchio of Melbourne Florida

"im elias nephew, and im 14. i was very close to him when he was here in florida. the best uncle anyone could ask for. he was the best at evry thing he did. he was the best gunny. i dont know what else to say. i love you uncle, and i hope your doing good whereever you may be."
zack fontecchio of melbourne florida

"I will never forget "Gunny." He was my platoon sgt. through our initial deployment to Iraq. Not only was he a model Marine, but a genuine great person. Never one to raise his voice, Gunny led by example, exemplifying what it meant to be a man. Although sorely missed, the life lessons we all learned from Gunny live on to this day in the conduct of our own lives. I think of him often, and know I will see him again one day. God bless you Gunny, and God bless your wonderful family."
Cpl. Tyson Manker of Jacksonville, IL

"I have known for years that your HONORABLE son had served our country and his principles was a memoriam to our freedom. Though I knew in my heart, it was only today that I got the info from Gary Harris. I knew in my heart he had served and did his job honorably and our free country proud.
I thank you family for your service, sacrifice and I really appreciate your Son's service. I have two daughters that live in a country that is FREE and your Son's service has preserved their freedom.
I cannot thank your son and your family enough. I will continue to pray for him, you and others that serve to protect our Freedom.
Dennis, please take care of yourself as he would want, same for Mom and twin.
I have no idea what pain this has caused, but remember your son as one of the most precious, committed, devoted young man I have ever known.
Remember that your son would want you to be in good health and without sorrow for his service."
Tim Womack of Albuquerque, NM

"Wishing kenny and little elia the best thanksgiving and happiest of holidays. i miss and love u gunny."
Sgt Moyer of Moore,ok

"Sweet Elia...Remembering you today November 11 th and everyday."
MARY COSTA of MILFORD, MA.

"October 4&5th 2008
Family and friends of Elia P. Fontecchio gathered to celebrate Elia's life and to remember the sacrifice he made on August 4 , 2004.
On October 4th the 5th Annual Bike Run was held from TD'S Pub on Water St in Milford, MA. with over 100 bikes participating .
On October 5th the 4th Annual Golf Tournament was held at Country View Golf Club in Harrisville RI.
All proceeds from these events go to the ELIA P. FONTECCHIO SCHOLARSHIP FUND.
To view Elia's web site please visit
http://www.eliapfontecchio.org
Always in Our Hearts"
MARY COSTA of MILFORD, MA.

"080805.......Can still remember this date 4 years ago when I found out that you had passed away....it is as unbelieveable now as it was back then, but I have never forgotten you, nor ever will. Your legacy will last a lifetime! Semper Fi GySgt Fontecchio!"
A fellow Marine of Jacksonville, NC

"AUGUST 4, 2008
REMEMBERING YOU TODAY ELIA.
FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS.

JULY 29, 1974 - AUGUST 4, 2004"
MARY COSTA of MILFORD, MA.

"July 29, 2008... Elia Fontecchios 34th Birthday. FOREVER in OUR HEARTS."
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"SEMPER FI BROTHER, I went to Arlington for the fouth of July to pay my respects. NEVER FORGOTTEN!!!!"
Nathan Humes of Evans City, Pa

"Sweet Elia...Remembering you this
"FOURTH OF JULY". Rest in Gods care."
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"Dear Fontecchio Family,
I had the pleasure of befriending Elia whilst he worked in Dar es Salaam, East Africa in 1996.
He was the kindest, most sincere and genuine gentleman I had the pleasure to meet.
Unfortunately we lost contact some time ago and it deeply saddens me to only recently find out about your sad loss.

Elia loved his family and loved serving his country and I will continue to hold fond memories of him and his infectious character
Kind regards"
Louise Howie of Fife, Scotland

"July 1, 2008
To the family of Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio:
Elia gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Sweet Elia...You are forever in our hearts and thoughts.
Memorial Day 2008"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA

"Thank you for your bravery"
Eric of Milford, Mass

"Elia,

I think of you and your family often. Thank you, and may you rest in peace.


God Bless."
Julie of Milford

"February 9, 2008
The Franklin MA. Elks BPOE #2136
presented The Medal of Valor to Elia today. His parents Cindy and Dennis Fontecchio were present to accept this honor from the Elks. The ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt. Family and friends were on hand to share this day.
God Bless Elia
God Bless America"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"My name is Jonathan Enos and I had the privelage to work with GySgt. Fontecchio at SOI S-3 on Camp Geiger in 2001-2002. I was a Lcpl. working in ops awaiting my PEB Med Board to be final. I used to come in early to work every morning and no matter how early I was he was always there first. He always addressed everyone by there rank even when they were subordinates. Normally a Gunny would just say "hey yoo hoo come here", or the general term "Marine". Not Gunny Fontecchio though. He made sure to give you the respect that was deserved as a Marine and as a proffesional. I always respected that!!! Something else I always remember was how he would always spend the first half of the morning on some days at his desk in PT shorts and shower shoes jamming out to Godsmack or something similar. He used to give me advise and contact numbers for Dr's in the area to see about my bummed shoulder so I could try to stay in. He was like that, always pointing everyone in a positive direction no matter what or who. I met alot of people in the Corps. but I learned alot about leadership from 2 Marines especially. One of which is GySgt, Elia Fontecchio. I raise my glass to him every 10 November and carry a clipping of his passing cut fron the Marine Times and will do so till my death. GySgt. Fontecchio most days was pretty quiet and steadily working in "his zone" but when he did speak it was either profound or hilarious. He is duly missed and WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. Though I knew him for a shorter time than most, he truly left a lasting impression. I still remember him more days than not and use what he taught me in my civilian world working in Law Enforcement. He taught me that respect above all else pays dividends and that you have to lead by example to get it in return, Thank you Gunny. And may your son grow to become half the man you were. You did not have to go out on patrol that day, but you had to "be in the fight" because that's who you were. Always leading from the front and never asking what you werent willing to do. OOH-RAAH!!!"
Lcpl. Jonathan Enos (retired) of Woodbine, Maryland US

"I am a cousin of Elia's and he has been missed deeply. Our family recently had a family union where a beautiful collection of photos where gathered and put on a DVD for all to remember. One of the pictures was of Elia in his marine bests with flags floating in the background. Everyone who watched the DVD cried a tear to think this terrific kid died for our country. God bless to all our family. When I wear a t-shirt that our family had made with his name on it, a tear comes to my eye that this great marine had to be taken away. I know he is now a guardian angel for all marines who are serving in Iraq."
Laurie (Blackburn)Colett of Milford,Ma

"September 8, 2007... The 4th Annual Elia P Fontecchio Bike Run was held from Players at 68 Water St. Milford.
Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to Elia and to share the love we all feel for Elia and his family. FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"It's been three years and I am still honoring your memory, GySgt Fontecchio, and continuing to pray for your wife and son. Semper Fidelis!"
A fellow Marine of Jacksonville, NC

"Remembering Elia and his loving family today and everyday....I LOVE YOU."
Mary Costa of Milford. MA.

"been 3 years now and the odd part is that i forgot the date until today but for the past 2 days he's popped into my mind a lot. He was a highschool buddy and I'm now turning 31 so it's sad to feel so young and realize i outlived my friend."
Steve L of Milford/Natick

"I had the honor of having this great man as a superior in NC and it brings me gread sadness to know Gunny Fontecchio is no longer with us

Semper Fi Gunny"
M.Klein of NY,USA

"you are true heroes, but it is so sad you have to be there, and risk your lives every day, so many lives for nothing.....god bless you boys"
Susanne of Sweden

"I HAD THE HONOR OF SERVING WITH ELIA IN 3/6 ON A MED FLOAT HE WAS IN THE SAME VEHICLE AS ME AND WAS A GRAET SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND MOTIVATION I WILL NEVER FORGET HIM"
LCPL STEWART of SOUTH MILWAUKEE WI 53172

"I served overseas with Elia in 2000 I was truly saddened to hear of his passing. Elia will be sorely missed, god bless him and all of those who served with him"
Ryan Garrett 3/6 of Ellijay GA

"I served along side 2 of the best SSGT'S at the time while I was at SOI S-3. One of those men was Gunny Fontecchio. He made a profound impression on me in the short time that I knew him and was always offering guidance both personal as well as proffesional. I learned alot about leadership from Gunny and took his passing pretty hard. I raise a glass to him every 10 Nov. and always leave a drink on the table for him. He was what a Marine is, and should hope to be, A leader first and foremost, and an equal friend."
Lcpl. Enos of Woodbine, Md

"I served along side 2 of the best (SSGT'S at the time) while I was at SOI S-3. One of those men was Gunny Fontecchio. He made a profound impression on me in the short time that I knew him and was always offering guidance both personal as well as proffesional. I learned alot about leadership from Gunny and took his passing pretty hard. I raise a glass to him every 10 Nov. and always leave a drink on the table for him. He was what a Marine is, and should hope to be, A leader first and foremost, and an equal friend. SEMPER-FI Brother......."
Lcpl. Enos of Woodbine, Md

"To the Fontecchio Family...our family continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers especially now during the holiday season. You and GySgt Fontecchio have not been forgotten!!"
A fellow Marine of Jacksonville, NC

"Dear fotecchi’s family,
My name is Andres Melendez; I am an 8th grader student at Doral Academy Middle school in Miami, FL. In my English class we are writing letters of support to our soldiers. I found your web page and I chose your family because of your loss, and I want you to know that Sgt. Elia fontecchi was a great man. He is our hero. His courage and sacrifice has made it possible for us to remain free. I want you to know that you have all my support. My prayers are with you. May god bless Sgt. Elia and family.
Sincerely,
Andres Melendez"
Andres Melendez of miami florida

"Dear fotecchi’s family,
My name is Andres Melendez; I am an 8th grader student at Doral Academy Middle school in Miami, FL. In my English class we are writing letters of support to our soldiers. I found your web page and I chose your family because of your loss, and I want you to know that Sgt. Elia fontecchi was a great man. He is our hero. His courage and sacrifice has made it possible for us to remain free. I want you to know that you have all my support. My prayers are with you. May god bless Sgt. Elia and family.
Sincerely,
Andres Melendez"
andres melendez of miami florida

"he will always be in our memories.thank you"
carlos chevez of toronto canada

"Today...October 7, 2006 The 3rd Annual Memorial Bike Run to honor Elia was held out of Players in Milford MA. Over 130 motorcycles and 200 riders met to remember Gunny Fontecchio....Elias family was present and the event truly showed that Elia is " Forever In Our Hearts " ."
Mary Costa of Milford ,Massachusetts

"Gy.....as I heard TAPS playing at the Evening Parade at 8th & I on Friday, 060804....I thought of you and your family. Though it has been two years since your passing, your memory is still very much alive in me. I continue to pray for your family's continued strength. We miss you GySgt Fontecchio!!!! Semper Fidelis!!!"
A fellow Marine of Jacksonville, NC

"Two years ago today hearts were broken and lives we changed forever....God Bless Elia and his wonderful family.
Love Mary Costa"
Mary Costa of Milford, Massachusetts

"I MET ELIA IN 1993, 81'S PLT 2/7. HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST SQUARED AWAY MARINES YOU COULD KNOW. DURING OUR DEPLOYMENT TO OKINAWA HE WAS PROMOTED TO CPL. THIS WAS WHEN THE PINNING OF THE BLOOD STRIPE WAS NO LONGER TOLERATED. HE CAME TO THE ROOM THAT CPL. STRAUSER AND I SHARED AND TOLD US THAT HE WOULD NOT FEEL LIKE A TRUE NCO UNLESS HE WENT THROUGH THE TRADITION OF HAVING HIS BLOOD STRIPES PINNED ON. THIS WAS WHEN IT TRULY MADE YOU REALIZE WHAT TYPE OF MARINE HE WAS AND WHAT TYPE OF MARINE HE CONTINUED TO BE. I WILL NEVER FORGET ELIA AND THE MEMORIES OF HIM. SEMPER FI ELIA, EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NO LONGER HERE AND SINCE MY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY FALLS ON AUG. 4TH I WILL TOAST YOU AND THINK OF YOU."
NATHAN HUMES of EVANS CITY, PA/USA

"I am a member of 3/7 Kilo and I constantly think of him. He left his impression on anyone he ever served with. The day we lost Gunny was the saddest I have ever seen a group Marines. His loss was felt by every Marine in the Battalion. My prayers and most heart felt sympathies go out to his wife and little boy. Gunny Fontecchio will surely live on in the hearts of anyone who ever knew him.
Hey Gunny, I need you clothes, your boots, and you motorcycle!!! SEMPER FI Gunny."
Cpl. Don Schmidt of Wash DC

"Here's to you, Elia. You are truly larger than life. Special condolences to the Fontecchio family from the Farrer family during the 2005 holiday season. We are constant critics of 'Op.I.F.' but we have always supported the soldiers and their loved ones; our hearts are with you."
Tommy Farrer of Milford, MA. USA

"Thank you for your service. Our prayers our with your family and friends. We are sorry for your loss."
Nicole A. (Fino) McKay, Scott McKay, Francis J. Fino and the late Brian F. Fino (Marine Corp.) of Hopedale, MA

"I served under Elia when he was with 3rd battalion 6th Marines. He was a great man and a great leader. The knowledge he taught me served me well in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I feel a great loss. My condolences to his family."
Sgt. Casey Worth of Hamilton, MT 59840

"I weep for Elia's wife and family as I write this message, for I know the pain of grief. I am reminded of the new country song which says "He was one of the chosen ones, He made it to Arlington." Elia gave his all for his country and the future of our children and now he will watch over you all from the other side. May you always feel his love and may God be with you and give you strength and courage to carry on with pride in your heart."
Alice of Lorton, Virginia

"To the family of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio I am sorry to hear of your loss. Elia was a true American hero and we will never forget him. God Bless"
Angela Snell of Shrewsbury , MA

"Dearest Family Members,

Please let me take this moment in time to let you all know how proud I am of your fallen son, husband and father.

I am so proud to be an American. Elia has given us all the gift of freedom and pride.

God Bless Elia and all his family.

In God I trust."
Lorna MacAskill of Westfield,NJ

"Our deepest syampathy to the family of this fallen hero. You are in our thoughts and prayers."
Sheila & Denny Ross of Allen, Tx 75013

"Dear Fontecchio Family,
I am so sorry for your loss.
When we lose the ones we love, it's as if we lose a part of ourselves. And we feel bewildered and lonely.
And we cannot begin to see how the dark clouds of sorrow will ever lift,
But be assured, that as sunshine follows showers, happier memories will break through and help you toward brighter days.
Please know our prayers and thoughts are with you"
Karleen Mayberry of Macon NC

"All my prayers to the family of this Hero during this heartwrenching time. Clearly, Elia was a beautiful person and an amazing soldier. I will honor him in my heart always."
Beth of Chicago, Illinois

"To the family of Elia P. Fontecchio,
my heartfelt condolences go out to you in your time of loss. Elia "gave all" to make the world a safer and better place. He will not be forgotten. He will be remembered as a hero. His spirit will live on to remind us of the unselfish and brave individuals who make our country what it is today...Land of the Free - Because of the Brave. God Bless You All
Soldier Angel Robin Bateman"
Robin Bateman of Saugus, California

"We remembered our dear Elia Sat. August 13 at the 2nd annual Elia P Fontecchio Bike Run at Players in Milford MA. Elias loving family shared the day with us and the event was a great success. We love you all. God
Bless Elia...God Bless America"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"I never had the pleasure to meet Elia, although I feel like I know him. My husband grew up with Elia and truely considered him a dear friend. Elia left for the service before I met my husband. When Bill talks about Elia, he talks with great pride and respect. I attended the funeral service for Elia in Florida with my husband and was incredibly touched by how much I learned about him-from each of his friends and family members that spoke of him during the service. I am very proud of our country and respect our soldiers tremendously. Thank you to every soldier that has served our country."
MIchelle of Milford, MA

"Marine Gunnery Sgt Elia P. Fontecchio - You are an American hero whose ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten by a grateful nation. Rest in peace Marine. You will be remembered for always being faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps."
DOROTHY E. BURT of PORTSMOUTH, RI

"Gy.....it's been one year today since you have been gone. It still seems like yesterday. During a recent Change of Command ceremony at SOI, the CO said that Camp Geiger is hallowed ground because of Marines like you, SSgt Ivey, and other brave Marines from SOI that made the ultimate sacrifice. Marines still talk about you Gy....you left your mark on many a Marine....you left an impression on me that's for certain. I just wanted to let you know that you are remembered today and everyday by so many!!! Semper Fidelis GySgt Fontecchio...we miss you!!"
A fellow Marine of Jacksonville, NC

"I just wanted you to know...thank you for your service to our county. I feel very deeply about the loss of Elia. I have two young boys ages 3 and 2. I can't tell you how much I respect you and the sacrifice you made for our country. I hope you find peace and comfort and know that in your sons eyes you are a hero and that you have passed on the greatest gift, your son to the world. Thank you from our family to yours."
Jeff Kiene of Littlton, Colorado/USA

"Gunny Fontecchio was one of the most inspiring people i think anyone could know in their lifetime.He was the man everybody wanted to be.The best dad, the best husband,the best gunny.I will never forget him.Rest in peace brother. I love ya. Sgt Moyer 1st Combat Engineer Battalion/Kilo Co - OIF 1&2"
Bob Moyer of Choctaw , OK , USA

"I had the honor to serve with and to be a close friend to Elia. I consider it and honor to be associated with him and his family and will do anything in my power to help alliviate the pain of their loss. I first met Elia when awaiting mess duty in MCT in 1993 and from then on was staitioned to SOI and 2/7 with him. We kept in close contact from then on and he was not only a close friend when others were not, but more of a brother shaping my life and helping me become a better man. I will cherish his memory forever."
William Appleby of Norman, OK USA

"GySgt Fontecchio was a Marine that others try to be. I was with him when he was with 2/7 Wpns Co 81s Plt."
GySgt McGuire of Camp Pendleton

"As a Marine my heart saddens when I read of a Marine losing his or her life. My prayers go out to the family.

May God Bless you All"
Patrick of Gainesville FL

"AS I SIT HERE AND READ THE MESSAGES LEFT REMEBERING GUNNY I CANT HELP BUT SHED TEARS, AND I REALIZE THAT MERE WORDS FAIL TO CAPTURE THE IMPACT THAT HE AS A MAN HAS BESTOWED ON ALL THOSE HE HAS MET. I CANT HELP BUT FEEL CHEATED ON THE AMOUNT OF TIME I HAD KNOWN GUNNY FOR. I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME WE MET IN IRAQ, I WAS ATTACHED TO 3/7 FOR MY SECOND STINT IN IRAQ. A MARINE MADE A MISTAKE WHICH DELAYED OUR PROGRESS FOR THE MOMENT, AND IN A PLACE LIKE IRAQ WE AS MARINES KNOW THAT TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, GUNNY SIMPLY TOOK THE MARINE ASIDE AND ENCOURAGED HIM TO DO BETTER, WHERE ANOTHER PERHAPS WOULD HAVE LAID INTO HIM BY DEGRADING HIM WITH RIDICULE. HIS ACTIONS AS A MARINE, MAN, AND FATHER IS A TESTAMENT OF OUR GREAT FORTUNE IN KNOWING HIM. HE WAS MY GO TO WHEN I NEEDED GUIDANCE, AND NOW EVEN MORE SO AS HE WATCHES OVER US. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER GUNNY, THANK YOU FOR ALL !
SEMPER FI"
SGT. GONZALEZ, N.E of CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C

"Merry Christmas Elia. We love and miss you."
Joel Allegrezza of Uxbridge, MA

"I AM A ALSO A PERSIAN GULF VETERAN MYSELF, AND I GRIEF WITH YOU FOR YOUR LOST AND ALL OF THOSE WHO LOST LOVE ONES IN IRAQ."
JEFFREY FOGEL of EASTON ,PA.USA

"I don't know the Gunny personally but my brother was in 3/7 with Gunny. When I read about Gunny in the Wash post and informed my brother about his passing, I could immediately tell by his reaction that Gunny is an amazing man and special person, respected and loved by all he came in contact with. He was one of my brother's lifting partners back at 29 Palms. My heart goes out to Gunny's family and friends during this holiday season. He is obviously a hero and a great man."
Danny Hsia of Gaithersburg, MD

"To Elia's Family, You are so blessed to have such a wonderful man in your family . I never met this beautiful man.This man of strong heart and peace.I know he is resting in God's arms. His sacrafice was the greatest of all.Looking at his picture you know that still waters run deep. I grieve with you and celebrate his legacy.With deepest condolences,"
Mark Skulstad of Dobbs Ferry,N.Y.

"I serverd with Elia on Embassy duty in Moscow and Sarajevo. Elia was one of the best Marines I served with, he looked out for everyone.
I miss you buddy, Semper FI"
Dave Henke of Houston, Tx

"May the lord bless you. I pray for the American soldier each and every day. I am sorry for your loss.

I love a bunch of people.....they are American soldiers."
Cambria of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas/ United States

"Happy veterans day brother. I/we miss you."
steve langlois of milford ma

"Gunny was the best gunny i ever had and i'm going to miss him so very much, he was a great man, and I pray for his family to be able to move on in happiness, this has been a hard time. He is a hero in my eyes and the rest of 3/7 Kilo co. he will never be forgotten. SEMPER FI gunny"
Leo Kendall of Enfield, CT USA

"I was an MSG DetComdr in Europe and worked with Elia. Today I was sworn into the Foreign Service and it's the most important day of my life. I met a former Marine at the ceremony who told me of Elia's death. I want to express my condolences to Elia's wife and family. I have a four month old daughter and completely lost it when I saw the picture of Elia and his child.
Sacrifices are required for major changes in the world. I pray Elia's sacrifice is for the good of man kind.

Semper Fidelis

Cliff Reed"
Cliff Reed of Washington DC

"I was in Moscow with Elia, who was my "adopted" brother - and a great friend. My heart goes out to his family and his baby boy - born the same day as my Daughter - Elia, I will always remember you with the fondness and joy you brought to my life. I will miss you..."
Erin McKee (formerly Kinder) of Currently stationed in La Paz/Bolivia

"Dearest Kinney,You may not remember us but you taught my children, Zachary and Lily at the Ghent Montessori School.Zach is a sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont and hopes to join the Peace Corps and perhaps become a journalist. He is a thoughtful, talented young man and credits Montessori with helping to mold his compassionate nature and creativity.Lily is a sophomore in high school with a passion for life and a pronounced social consciousness.She also remains close to her Montessori friends and treasures her time there.We read of your husband's death in the newspaper and the loss of your mother. I cannot find the words to express our sorrow but you must know that you made an impact on our lives as I know your husband and mother did for so many others. Our thoughts are with you and your son.Love, Leslie Hecht-Leavitt and family"
Leslie Hecht- Leavitt of Norfolk, Va.

"We loved you Gunny. You inspired all of us. You were everything we ever wanted in a platoon sergeant. Your patience and exemplary courage raised the standard for us all. Semper Fi, 3/7 81's always will remember"
David Rainey of Louisville, KY

"Thank you for your service, not sure what else I can say."
Patrick of Haverhill, ma

"MY NAME IS JANE VAN GYZEN AND MY SON LCPL JOHN J. VAN GYZEN IV WAS KILLED ALONG WITH TWO OF HIS FRIENDS MICHAEL TORRES AND DALLAS KERNS ON JULY 5TH OF THIS YEAR. THEY ALL SERVED WITH ELIA AND WERE MEMBERS OF THE 3 7TH OUT OF THE 29 PALMS. I HAD THE HONOR TO ATTEND ELIA'S MEMORIAL SERVICE HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS A COUPLE OF WEEKS. IT WAS SUCH AN HONOR TO MEET YOU CINDY AND HIS SISTERS NICHOL, ALICIA AND JOSLINE. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH ALL OF YOU IN THE COMING DAYS AND WEEKS AND ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN HERE IN MASS OR IN FLORIDA.GOD BLESS YOU ALL."
JANE VAN GYZEN of N. DIGHTON, MASS

"To Elias Family....May God bless you all. I have seen first hand the love and closeness you share as a family and that will guide you through the rest of your lives. I love you and think of you everyday....your friend"
Mary Costa of Milford, MA.

"To the family and friends of GySgt Fontecchio,

I served alongside Elia while my platoon was attached to Kilo Co., 3/7 in Karablah, Iraq in 2004. I had the utmost respect for this great man. I was constantly amazed at his natural leadership abilities, as well as his tactical proficiency. He was loved, respected, and trusted throughout Kilo Co. and Task Force 3/7. He will always be a hero of mine and I am lucky to have served with him. You should be very proud of him."
Capt Jeff Moore of 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, Camp Pendleton, CA

"To the family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca

"words cant express how i feel . elia was the finest staff non-commissioned officer i have ever worked with. he was a friend , a role model, and a very compassionate leader. he was so easy to talk to and when the going got tough and all the marines were at each others throats he would always bring us togeather as a platoon by giving us words of encouragement and sometimes even a kick in the butt. i was with his platoon the 3rd battalion 7th marines 81's platoon during the invasion. he was the person who i looked forward to seeing the most when they came back from their second tour.he had a huge impact on mine and the lives of all who served with him.i can tell you that everyone trusted him, loved him, and admired him. we will never forget the contribution he has made to america, his family , and his marines. i send my sympathy to his family and his friends in milford. ive contacted several of his platoon members(the ones who were in the invasion but have finished their time in the marine corps)and informed them of his passing. they all send their sympathy to his family and friends as well. he will never be forgotten . semper fi. cpl. nathan c. olsovsky. if anyone would like to contact me i can be reached at 512-789-9991"
corporal nathan c. olsovsky third battalion seventh marine regiment 81's platoon of austin, tx.

"My heart goes out to the family and friends of Elia.Not a day will go by that I won't think of all that he gave for our freedom.To my family in Milford you have lost a great nephew and cousin my heart goes out to you.Kevin I am sorry.I know he was like a brother to you.He died an honorable man.To Staff Serreant Shelby Lasater,Navy Captain H.Don Elshire,Navy Captain Kermit Booher and the rest of the Third Battalion,Seventh Marine Regiment thank you for all that you have done.Your lost is great,my heart goes out to you. Thanks"
Stephen Allegrezza of Northbridge,MA

"I had the chance to get to know Elia a bit in high school. We were in the Music an Theater Depts. together. Though years have gone since we last spoke, I will always remember Elia as a strong young man with a good head on his shoulders and a warm smile on his face.

Thank you, Elia. May God Bless you and your family."
Julie Amati of Milford, Ma

"Dear Anna and family, I am Florence's sister-in-law, Fran's sister Mary Ann Moschini Gawalt. We were terribly saddened by the sudden death of your Grandson, Elia. God must have a reason for taking him so young and away from his beloved family, I wish that we could help in some way.My husband served in Korea, Bay of Pigs and Vietnam so I know how hard the waiting is and the worry. Please tell the family that they are in our prayers, I hope that it will bring some comfort to all of you. God bless you always, Mary Ann and John"
M. A. and John Gawalt of Middletown, R. I. U.S. A.

"On 040805 I received the sad news of the passing of GySgt Elia Fontecchio. I served with this awesome Marine at the School of Infantry, Camp Geiger, NC. I and countless others mourn the passing of such an outstanding Marine, husband, father, and son. To the Fontecchio family, I and my husband, SgtMaj Donnie Barrett (currently deployed with the 24th MEU in Iraq) offer our deepest condolences. "If the Army and the Navy ever gaze on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines." Semper Fidelis GySgt Fontecchio - YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!"
MSgt Tina Barrett of Jacksonville, North Carolina

"God Bless you, G.Sgt. Fontecchio, our hero on earth and angel in heaven.

Our love and prayers to your family. We share your heartache...our nephew, S.Sgt. Roderick Nesmith, 11th MEU, 166thREIN, was killed in training 2/14/02. Not a day goes by that we don't think of him.

God Bless you all and Semper Fi."
Ric, Margaret & Monica Nesmith of Altadena, CA

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Elia, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Sergeant Fontecchio, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To Elia's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved one's bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"To all who read this message may you know that we will never forget Elia. His service to our country only begins to tell the story of our friend and classmate. He was a leader, a mentor, a friend, a husband, a father, a son and a true hero, not only for what he did on the battlefield but for the reason he served and asked to return for a second tour of duty in Iraq. Here in Milford, his home for many years, candles burn, flags wave and flowers grace the war memorial in Draper Park. This week you meet your final resting place for now you are with the Father and for Him you will now serve…Our hero on earth, now our angel above. May peace and God’s blessings be with all of us now."
Kimberly Sharp of Milford MA

"To the family of Elia,

Your loss really touches my heart. I lost my son Chris in April and he was from Twenty-Nine Palms and in the third seventh also. He probably knew Elia and I am just so sorry. I am four months ahead of you and I pray for your family, because I know the deep pain of your loss. I hope you will find strength in the Lord, as I have. My faith has been the only thing I have had to carry me through the very dark days. He has met me everytime to give me comfort and strength and He will do the same for you. We will always have the pride in knowing they gave it all for their Country and the safety of their families. God bless you and know someone cares and is praying for your family."
Terri Bowman of Las Vegas, NV. USA

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude.
May G-d provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten.
A grateful citizen and a Proud Marine Mom"
Lily of Wakefield MA

"To Elia's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To the family of Elia Fontecchio;

Our sincerest condolences for you loss. Our family has also lost a precious life in this battle for freedom. Elia is a true American hero and will always be remembered for his bravery and sacrifice to his country. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time."
The McClain family---azquail@att.net of Tucson, AZ

"Thank you Elia Fontecchio, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Elia Fontecchio:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Elia for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Elia Fontecchio:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Elia, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on