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Marine 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr.

Died March 23, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

31, of Tonopah, Nev.; assigned to the Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed in action near Nasiriyah, Iraq.

Frederick Pokorney Jr. started his career as an enlisted man. He ended it as an officer.

At 6-foot-6, Pokorney played center on a Tonopah, Nev., High School basketball team that went 14-9 and was runner-up for the state championship in 1989.

“He was a nice looking, tall, muscular kid,” said Joann Cody, assistant sheriff in Nye County, Nev.

Pokorney had taken care of himself for many years. His mother left when he was 1", said his father, Fred Pokorney Sr., who lives in Branson, Mo. The elder Pokorney had not spoken to his son in more than five years.

“It’s sad, but I don’t know much about his life,” his father said. “He had his own life and didn’t want to have much to do with me.”

Pokorney moved to Nevada when his father, a construction worker, got a temporary job at a missile test range near Tonopah. After his father left, his son stayed, living with the local sheriff and his basketball coach. “He was my son,” former sheriff Wade Lieseke said.

From there, Pokorney made his own way in life. People who knew him say he a very good person — independent, polite, friendly. “He was a good student, very diligent,” said Art Johnson, who taught him auto mechanics for two years.

He enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in the ROTC program at Oregon State University in 1997 to become an officer, a university spokesman said. He majored in anthropology and graduated in 2001.

He is survived by his wife, Rochelle, a young daughter, a brother and a sister.

— USA Today, Associated Press

An Oregon State University graduate was among nine U.S. Marines killed when their unit was attacked by Iraqi soldiers pretending to surrender, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

U.S. Marine 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., 31, moved to North Carolina with his wife, Carolyn Rochelle, after earning a humanities degree, according to former neighbor Dave Sodeman of Salem.

“He was a wonderful dad and husband,” said Sodeman. “He’d do just anything for you.”

Pokorney grew up in Tonopah, Nev., a small mining town 220 miles northwest of Las Vegas, where a memorial was planned for him Friday at the flagpole at Tonopah High School.

Pokorney’s high school basketball coach, Tim Mutch, a former Marine, said they used to talk about military service while the teen lived with him in Tonopah for about six months in 1989.

“I always told him, if you want to go into the military, you might as well go with the best,” the Marine Corps, said Mutch. “I told him they’ll challenge you, physically and every other way.”

Mutch said Pokorney rarely mentioned his parents, and lived with another family when he first moved to Tonopah. He said the teen worked as a waiter, dishwasher and cook at a hotel during high school.

At Oregon State, Pokorney served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he played on a basketball team for U.S. Navy reservists, according to ROTC administrator Petty Officer Greg Cazemier.

— Associated Press

Marine 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr. was a “wonderful all-around kid” who became a devoted family man and dedicated Marine, friends said.

Pokorney, 31, of Tonopah, Nev., was killed March 23 near Nasiriyah. He was assigned to the Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Pokorney lived in Jacksonville, N.C., with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter.

“Anyone that was blessed by knowing Fred has suffered an indescribable loss,” his brother-in-law, Rick Schulgen, said on behalf of the family.

“He was someone you’d be proud to call your son,” said Janet Dwyer, secretary at Tonopah High School.

Pokorney played on the varsity basketball and football teams at school, in a small mining town 220 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The basketball team made the state finals both years the 6-foot-5 center played.

Pokorney attended Oregon State University in Corvallis.

— Associated Press

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