Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Christopher Degiovine killed 'while conducting combat operations'

Another Vermonter has been lost in the war in Iraq.

25-year-old Marine Corporal Christopher Degiovine of Essex was killed in combat last Thursday in Anbar province. His father tells Channel 3 News he was riding an amphibious attack vehicle when it was struck by an IED -- an improvised explosive device.

"I got a phone call," Ray Degiovine said. "And the cell was a bad connection, but I heard, 'This is the Marine Corps,' and I knew what the call was all about." He got the news no parent wants to get. His son was killed in Iraq.

"We're devastated. We didn't expect it. Chris was only in country for 2 weeks when this happened."

Cpl. Chris Degiovine leaves behind his wife, Rachel. They were married a year and half ago, shortly after he graduated from Champlain College with a degree in criminal justice.

"It's always sad to hear that someone who at one point was one of my comrades in arms has fallen," said Essex Police Lt. Ken Beaulieu.

Beaulieu worked with Degiovine at the Essex Police Department. The future Marine was a bike patrol officer during two summers in college.

"I remember him as a quiet, but very nice kid," said Lt. Ken Beaulieu of the Essex Police Department. "Everybody liked him, he blended in well, he got along well with everybody. I remember him as smiling all the time but he was also very dedicated."

Degiovine graduated from Essex High School in 2000. His father said he was always interested in the military. It became even more important after he graduated.

"When 9/11 occurred, it affected him deeply," said Ray Degiovine. "It affected him as it did most Americans. We were upset. We wanted to strike back and defend our freedom."

It was a mission Degiovine gave his life to. His father said he was proud to serve his country. And his family is proud of him.

"Chris was a terrific kid," his father said. "He was a gentle, decent guy. He had many friends, he had a great sense of humor, he loved to play golf, he loved his little dog Lucy. He's going to be tremendously missed by all of us."

From WCAX 3