Martin C. Evans

Commack Marine the 11th LI GI Killed in Afghanistan

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm

The body of LCpl. Justin J. Wilson arrived at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, late Wednesday

A 2004 graduate of Commack High School, who joined the U.S. Marines last year, was killed in an ambush in southern Afghanistan Monday when an improvised explosive device detonated near him.

The Marine, Justin Wilson, who was promoted to Lance Corporal only this month, had lived in Commack until two years ago, when his parents, Lance and Frances, moved to Palm City, Fla.

Wilson is the 11th GI from Long Island to perish in combat in Afghanistan, according to a Newsday count.

His father told the Palm Beach Post he last spoke to his son on St. Patrick’s Day, when Justin turned 24.

“He was a little afraid. I could hear it in his voice,” the 53-year-old Wilson said. “He didn’t want to talk about what was going on there. He wanted to talk about his wife, the family. He wanted to know what was going at home.”

Wilson, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was killed.

Wilson’s uncle, Nassau Police Det. Sgt. Robert Galgano, was among family members who went to the military mortuary at Dover, Del., to receive Wilson’s remains.

“He was gung-ho, proud to be a part of the service,” Galgano said. “He had grown up a lot in the Marines.”

Wilson was deployed to Afghanistan last November, having married a Florida woman, Hanna McVeigh, only days earlier.

Galgano said Wilson briefly attended college after graduating from high school before taking various jobs around Long Island, including loading trucks at a FedEx warehouse in Farmingdale. Influenced by his father, a neon sign maker, Wilson amused himself by creating graffiti-styled artworks.

But Wilson felt that odd jobs were leading him nowhere, Galgano said, and Wilson joined the Marines at a Florida recruiting station. He attended boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., overlapping there with a cousin, Lance Cpl. Carl Ruggiero, whose family moved from Port Jefferson to North Carolina about 10 years ago.

“I’ve always looked up to him like an older brother,” Ruggiero said by telephone from Camp Lejeune.

In addition to his parents and wife, Justin Wilson has younger siblings: a brother, Christopher and a sister, Jaime-Ella.

Galgano said Wilson’s family plans to have a wake and funeral services in Florida, but that no date has been set.

Wilson’s Facebook page can be found here.

Wilson’s tour of duty in Afghanistan had only
six weeks to go.

But fate placed him in the path of a deadly bomb.

Editor’s note: An earlier photograph posted here identified as Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, which had been published in the Palm Beach Post, depicted another lance corporal by the same name.


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