Monday, January 29, 2007

Alexander H. Fuller dies of injuries from I.E.D.

BARNSTABLE -- Anastacia Fuller was 13 years old when she met her future husband.

Alex Fuller , then barely 15, approached her at a club in Hyannis and asked her to dance.

They fell in love almost immediately. Four years later, they were married in South Yarmouth.

Anastacia Fuller, now 19 and expecting their first child in April, spoke to her husband last Tuesday when he called from his post in Iraq to tell her he had received the pictures she sent of her expanding belly.

"He told me how beautiful I looked," Fuller recalled yesterday at her parents' house in Centerville, a village of Barnstable.

It was their last conversation. Late Thursday night, two Army soldiers came to her house to tell her that Alex Fuller, a sergeant in the 61st Cavalry Regiment, was killed near Baghdad earlier that day by a roadside bomb.

Anastacia Fuller said she is proud of her husband's decision to serve, but said she was troubled by the way he died.

"He didn't die for anything that changed anything," she said, as she sat at the kitchen counter . "He's just another life, just another casualty. I'd like to have more closure knowing that he died to save somebody's life."

But she said she knows exactly what she will say to her daughter when she asks about her father: "I'm going to tell her he was a hero."

Alex Fuller joined the Army in October 2004 , just before he was married. He was deployed last October to Iraq, shortly after his wife became pregnant.

A skilled boxer who briefly played high school football, Fuller loved physical challenges, his friends and family said yesterday.

"He was just the toughest, most fearless kid," said Zach Hallett , 24, of Osterville, Fuller's best friend. "He wasn't afraid of anything."

In the Army, Fuller believed he had a future. A high school dropout who eventually got his General Educational Development certificate, Fuller saw military service as a way to get ahead.

He imagined spending decades in the Army, rising through the ranks, or parlaying his time in the military into a career in criminal justice.

"He wanted to make a difference," said his mother-in-law, Irena Zinov , 42, as she cooked her daughter a plate of cheese-stuffed pancakes. "Serving his country made him feel very good."

Alex Fuller embraced the opportunity to fight overseas, Anastacia Fuller said.

"He wanted to stop the attackers," she said. "He wanted to stop the terrorists. He wanted to kill the enemy."

But recently, Fuller began to crave his home. He was supposed to return in April for his daughter's birth.

"When Stacy got pregnant and he saw the pictures," Zinov said, "that's when he started thinking it might be nice to get back."

Alex Fuller lived with Hallett for two years before moving in with Anastacia Fuller's family when he was 16 years old.

"This was his family," his wife said, looking at her parents.

"He was like a son to me," said her father, Dmitri Zinov , 42.

To Hallett, Fuller was like a sibling. "I lost my brother in Iraq," Hallet said. "He was just really loved by all of us."

Anastacia Fuller, who plans to go to college and become a nurse, said she will live with her parents for a while, but expects to buy her own home with the money she and her husband saved.

She is naming her daughter Alicia, the name her husband chose because it resembles his own.

"I didn't really like it at first, but he wanted it so bad," she said.

"After all this, I felt like I had to do it for him."

From the Globe