Saturday, February 03, 2007

Matthew G. Conte slain by sniper

The story of a life too short is played out in message after message on the Web site MySpace.

"Matthew, you're the best Corpsman ever....

"Seems like just yesterday you were putting the Spiderman Band-aid on my eyebrow. Thanks for taking me into the platoon and i'll never forget the times we had. Keep watch over us and I look forward to seeing you soon... but not too soon. Love ya man. -- Johnny."

"Conte, I can't believe you're gone; even with your death you helped us save 2 Marines lives with the knowledge you passed to us. I'll never forget you man. -- Ray."

"To the many nights of being woken up... to hear your voice on the other end of the phone. I know it was only suppose to be a 7 minute phone call but somehow we always managed to talk for about ½ hour. To the one who always accepted me for who I was,... who continued to encourage me to be what I want to be, to the one who had the patience to teach me how to properly skip rocks at the lake... I want to thank you for your love, encouragement and kindness. I love you. -- Danita.

The language from the Department of Defense was decidedly different:

The Pentagon on Friday announced the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Hospitalman Matthew G. Conte, 22, of Streetsboro died Thursday while his unit was conducting combat operations in Iraq's Sunni-dominated Anbar province west of Baghdad.

Conte was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as a hospital corpsman in Iraq under the command of I Marine Expeditionary Force.

A notice on the MySpace Web site from a family member said Matthew was killed instantly while wearing all his body armor.

On MySpace, Conte is just a kid, a young man in civvies -- single, athletic, 5-foot-11, Aries -- who says he hopes to have children someday.

"Only a few people reading this will know who he is, but even if you don't, please say a prayer for him and also for gunnery sergeant Elliot (Terry J. Elliott, 34, Middleton, Tenn.) who also passed in the explosion. Watch over us Conte and I love you man! -- Johnny."

Services will be held at Dunn-Quigley Ciriello & Carr funeral home in Stow, with details to come in newspaper notices, according to a posting by the family on the Web site.

A spokesman at the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center on Dan Street in Akron said Friday night that Conte's family moved out of Ohio last year.

"Matt planned on working in a hospital when he got out," sister Lora wrote on MySpace.

From the Journal