Gregory T. Dalessio

Captain,
U.S. Army

2nd Battalion,
6th Infantry Regiment,
2nd Brigade Combat Team,
1st Armored Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: June 23, 2008
Buried at: Colestown Cemetery
                  Kings Highway and Church Road
                  Cherry Hill NJ
Awards: Purple Heart


CAPTAIN GREGORY T. DALESSIO was killed in action while serving in Iraq on June 23, 2008. He died in Baghdad while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dalessio had been wounded when his patrol encountered small arms fire in Salman Pak, Iraq during combat operations, according to the Department of Defense.

His stepfather, Thomas Pagano of Cherry Hill. said "He was serving his country and trying to help the people in Iraq. He was trying to make a difference there." 


Camden Courier-Post - June 25, 2008

30-year-old Cherry Hill Soldier Killed in Iraq

A Cherry Hill soldier died in Baghdad while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. Department of Defense announced today.

Cpt. Gregory T. Dalessio, 30, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany. Dalessio had been wounded when his patrol encountered small arms fire in Salman Pak, Iraq during combat operations, according to the Department of Defense.


Camden Courier-Post - June 26, 2008
S.J. Loses 2 Men in Iraq Attacks

By JIM WALSH and GEORGE MAST
Courier-Post Staff

Two Army officers from South Jersey have died in separate attacks in Iraq, officials said Wednesday.

The soldiers -- who were killed at meetings with Iraqi officials -- were Capt. Gregory T. Dalessio, 30, of Cherry Hill, and Maj. Dwayne Kelley, 48, a New Jersey state trooper and Army reservist who grew up in Willingboro.

Kelley died Tuesday in a bombing at a local government office in Baghdad, according to a state police spokesman. Another soldier and two American civilians also died in that blast.

Dalessio was fatally shot Monday as he emerged from a weekly reconstruction meeting with Iraqi officials in the city of Salman Pak, said his stepfather, Thomas Pagano of Cherry Hill. The gunman in that attack also killed another American soldier and wounded three.

"He was serving his country and trying to help the people in Iraq," Pagano said of his stepson, a 1996 graduate of Bishop Eustace Prep School in Pennsauken. "He was trying to make a difference there."

Dalessio, the oldest child in a family of 10, was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, his stepfather said. Kelley, a detective and counterterrorism specialist for the state police, had volunteered for a third tour.

With the latest deaths, at least 29 military personnel with ties to the tri-county area have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were well-known in their hometowns, friends and family members said Wednesday.

"Just about everyone knows Dwayne," said Kelley's mother, Vera, in Willingboro. "My house, especially my backyard, was like a children's playground (when he was a child). Everyone was in and out of it."

She said Kelley, a 1978 graduate of Willingboro High School, moved to South Orange more than 15 years ago but that he would regularly return to Willingboro.

The Rutgers University graduate was a married father of two.

Dalessio, who grew up in the Knollwood section, was an active member with his family at St. Peter Celestine Church in Cherry Hill, said the parish pastor, Father Tom Newton.

"Whenever he came home on leave, he'd come to Mass and participate in the church community," said Newton. "He had a presence, a spirit about him and an engaging personality. People gravitated to him."

During visits home, Dalessio expressed concern about his troops' well-being, Newton said.

"He talked about his desire to be a good leader for the men under him," Newton said. "He had a strong desire to keep his men safe."

Pagano said that he and his wife, Maureen, learned of their son's death on Monday while vacationing in Wildwood Crest. Military officers, who initially had gone to the family's Ivy Lane home, contacted the parents by phone and told them to wait at the shore town for a personal visit.

"We knew they weren't coming down for a good reason," said Pagano.

"You just have to pray to be able to accept something like this," he said. "You can't change God's will."

In Willingboro, Vera Kelley said her son's safety was a constant concern.

"Morning, noon and night I prayed," she said.

"He'd always say he was fine whether he was fine or not," she said.

"He touched many lives throughout the law enforcement and military communities, and he will be deeply missed by us all," said Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, state police superintendent.

Kelley, who spoke Arabic, served in a military civil affairs unit working to restructure government and rebuild infrastructure. As part of his counterterrorism efforts, Kelley interviewed detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Fuentes said.

His sister Sabrina Dalton said Kelley had planned to leave the Army Reserves in 2001, but could not do so after the 9/11 attacks because of his training in biochemical weapons.

Dalessio, who initially worked as a special education teacher, held two degrees from Seton Hall University. He participated in ROTC while pursuing a master's degree at the university and was commissioned as an Army second lieutenant in 2004, his father said.

A Blue Star flag, representing a family member in military service, hangs on the door of the Pagano home. Today, Cherry Hill will fly its flags at half-staff in honor of the fallen soldier, said Mayor Bernie Platt.

"It's a sad day for the residents of Cherry Hill," he said..


Camden Courier-Post - June 27, 2008
Region mourns loss of two more soldiers

South Jersey pair made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and should be honored.

Our region received grim news Wednesday that two more South Jersey soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq.

Maj. Dwayne Kelley, 48, a Willingboro native, and Capt. Gregory T. Dalessio, 30, of Cherry Hill, were killed in separate incidents in Iraq earlier this week. Their tragic deaths mean the tri-county area has now lost 29 service members in the fight against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We wish we could say these two brave men will be the last our region will lose in the our nation's war. But, in all likelihood, they will not be. We can just hope that the bravery they showed by voluntarily serving their nation means something, that Iraq one day emerges as a better, more stable place that poses no threat to its neighbors or the rest of the world.

Kelley, a New Jersey state trooper and Army reservist, was a 1978 graduate of Willingboro High School. He was a married father of two living in South Orange.

An Arabic-speaker, Kelley served in a military civil affairs unit working to restructure government and rebuild infrastructure. He had volunteered for a third tour of duty in Iraq. He died Tuesday in a bombing at a local government office in Baghdad. Another soldier and two American civilians also died in that blast.

Dalessio was the oldest child in a family of 10 and was a 1996 graduate of Bishop Eustace Prep in Pennsauken. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Dalessio was killed Monday after being fatally shot as he left a meeting with Iraqi officials in the city of Salman Pak, according to his stepfather, Thomas Pagano of Cherry Hill. The gunman in that attack killed another American soldier and wounded three people.

Kelley and Dalessio join 27 others from our area who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation in Iraq or Afghanistan. All of them should be remembered and honored for their bravery:

Marine Cpl. Terry Allen, 21, of Pennsauken.

Army Spc. Ryan Travis Baker, 24, of Browns Mills.

Army Pfc. David Bentz III, 20, of Clayton.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Joseph Chiomento, 34, raised at Fort Dix.

Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis Alan Christensen Jr., 29, formerly of Collingswood.

Army Spc. Anthony Dixon, 20, of Lindenwold.

Army Sgt. Allen James Dunckley, 25, whose parents live in Glassboro.

Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, 36, formerly of Pennsauken.

Army Reserve Spc. Bryan L. Freeman, 31, of Lumberton.

Army Spc. Adam C. Froehlich, 21, of Pine Hill.

Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Goodwin, 33, formerly of Westampton.

Army Staff Sgt. Terry W. Hemingway, 39, formerly of Willingboro.

Marine Lance Cpl. Jon T. Hicks Jr., 20, of Atco.

Marine Cpl. Sean Kelly, 23, of Pitman.

Army Spc. David Mahlenbrock, 20, of Maple Shade.

Marine Sgt. Brian McGinnis, 23, who grew up in Pitman.

Army Capt. Maria Ortiz, 40, who was born in Pennsauken.

Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Daniel J. Pratt, 48, formerly of Williamstown.

Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson, 29, of Haddon Heights.

Marine Cpl. Marc Ryan, 25, of Gloucester City.

Marine Maj. John C. Spahr, 42, a Cherry Hill native.

Army Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, 25, of Browns Mills.

Army Sgt. Stephen J. Sutherland, 34, who grew up in Pitman and Mantua.

Navy SEAL David M. Tapper, 32, a Atco native.

Airman 1st Class Carl Ware Jr., 22, formerly of Glassboro.

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Michael Weiglein, 31, of Audubon.

Robert C. White III, 21, formerly of Camden.

No matter how anyone feels about why we've engaged in this war, we should never fail to honor those who volunteer to serve our nation and risk their lives to do so. We have tremendously brave soldiers who know that every day they spend in Iraq and Afghanistan, they risk dying.


Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 2008

DALESSIO, GREGORY T.
Captain Gregory T. Dalessio died Monday, June 23, 2008, from wounds sustained while serving his country in Iraq. Age 30. Beloved son of Maureen (nee McIntyre) and Thomas Pagano of Cherry Hill, NJ and Robert Dalessio of Philadelphia, PA. Loving brother of Nicholas Pagano, Daniel Pagano, Timothy Pagano, Alexandra Pagano, Elizabeth Pagano, Anastasia Pagano and Abigail Pagano, all of Cherry Hill, NJ. Beloved grandson of Joan McIntyre of Atco, NJ and Rose Pagano of Phila., PA. Many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Greg's viewing Tuesday evening 5 to 9pm and Wednesday morning 9 to 10:30am in St. Peter Celestine RC Church, 402 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, NJ. Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday 11am. Interment Coles-town Cemetery Cherry Hill, NJ. In lieu of flowers contributions in his memory may be made to the Domenica Foundation, Heal Camden Fund, 14 Sbar Blvd., Moores-town, NJ 08057. Arrangements by the SCHETTER FUNERAL HOME, of Cherry Hill, NJ.





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