Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dennis J. Veater killed during combat operations

JESSUP — Lance Cpl. Dennis J. Veater, 20, was due home March 21 to plan his wedding with his fiancee and bond with his 14-month-old son.

His family is now planning his funeral.

Veater died Friday from wounds he sustained while on a Marine combat mission in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, according to a press release issued from the U.S. Department of Defense.

A 2004 graduate of Abington Heights, he was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Marine Wing Support Group 47, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing at Wyoming in Luzerne County.

His fiancee, Angalene Snipes, 21, was preparing Friday for a day of dress fittings with her bridal party for the couple’s wedding, which was scheduled for May 26, when three Marines showed up at her home along 1004 Spring St., Jessup.

“I said I’d never date someone from the military. I said I wouldn’t, and I ended up falling in love,” Snipes said while cradling their son, Dominick.

The couple met during their freshman year at Penn State Worthington Scranton in 2004. Their calculus tutoring sessions and English project meetings turned into five-hour conversations at Perkins, over coffee, turkey club sandwiches and bacon cheeseburgers, which they always shared.

The day before Veater left for boot camp, the couple found out Snipes was pregnant with Dominick.

“Oh, he was estatic,” Snipes said of her fiance.

He proposed Christmas morning that year, just days before Dominick’s birth on Jan. 6. He always told her, “Love is friendship on fire.”

Snipes said Vance hoped to work at a local jail and support his family so she could be a stay-at-home mom.

“His family was his life. We were his life,” she said.

“He loved his family, loved his country,” said his father Donald Veater of Clarks Summit, a retired Marine sergeant major.

Veater, who has a twin brother, was the youngest of six children and the only one to enlist in the Marines.

Born in a military fort just south of Washington, D.C., Veater traveled the world with his family and lived in Japan for five years while his father was assigned there. Donald Veater said he is “absolutely” proud of his son and glad he would have the opportunity “to expand his knowledge of the world.”

“He expected he would be going to Iraq ... You can’t be a Marine and not go help your buddies,” Donald Veater said.

Snipes said her fiance, who worked at Elan Gardens in Clarks Summit, always relished in helping others.

“I just knew he was meant for great things,” she said.

Snipes talked to Veater shortly before he died.

“The last time he called, he was laughing,” she said.

She plans to tell Dominick about his wonderful, hands-on father who would change him and burp him. Before he left for Iraq, Veater recorded a video for his son.

“He just wanted Dominick to look up to him and know what it means to be a good person,” she said.

Additional information on how Veater was killed could not be obtained Saturday.

Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Saturday night.

From the Voice