Local Marine killed in Iraq
The family got word of the New Castle High School grad's death Thursday.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF Writer
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The father of a U.S. Marine killed this week in Iraq says his son died doing what he believed was right.
"He said, 'We're doing the right thing,'" said David Gettings of one of his last conversations with his son.
Cpl. Albert Pasquale Gettings, 27, was killed by small arms fire Thursday near Fallujah, Iraq. He was serving as a member of Fox Company, Second Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment.
The 1996 graduate of New Castle High School enlisted in the Marine Corps about three years ago. He did so after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
"After three years of college, he decided he needed more discipline in his life," David Gettings said.
Unbeknownst to his family, he enlisted. "We were proud, but we were worried," his father said.
Those fears were realized when two Marines knocked on the family's door about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to deliver the news.
Initially, Albert Gettings was assigned to supply and accounting and then the supply depot, a nondeployable post that his father said he hated.
He made a deal with his commanding officer, that if he tried out and made it in reconnaissance training, that he could be assigned to an infantry unit. If he didn't, he'd return to his post at the supply depot and accept the assignment without complaint, David Gettings said.
"Thirty people tried out, and nine made it," he said. "He was one of the nine."
Cpl. Gettings was first deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served for about six months. He returned last year and married the former Stephanie Palimino on May 29, 2005, and they moved to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. In September, he was deployed to Iraq.
David Gettings spoke to his son on Christmas Eve and his mother, Juliet, spoke to her son New Year's Eve. The Marine last spoke to his wife Tuesday.
"His mantra was 'I'm safe,'" David Gettings said. "That was for his wife and his mother."
But he wasn't allowed to talk about his duties.
When Albert completed his tour of duty in June, he was to join his father's financial services business.
Besides his parents and wife, Albert left a sister, Cori, of Tampa, Fla. He was named for his grandfathers, Albert Gettings and Pasquale Deli.
His father said Albert never regretted the decision to enlist in the Marines.
"He was gung-ho," David Gettings said.