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Marine Lance Cpl. John J. Malone

Died September 24, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of Yonkers, N.Y.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Fore, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay; died Sept. 24 while supporting combat operations in Delaram, Afghanistan.

Local Marine killed in Afghanistan

By Hannan Adely and Hoa Nguyen

The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News

A 24-year-old Marine killed in action in Afghanistan on Thursday was a Gorton High School graduate and former Mahopac resident who “would light up the room,” family and friends said.

Lance Cpl. John J. Malone, who grew up in Mahopac before moving to Yonkers to attend high school, died of gunshot wounds while on patrol in Afghanistan, according to family and friends who said they were notified late Thursday. The Pentagon said he died in Farah province, Afghanistan.

Malone, a young man who loved music, often wore a smile on his face and was committed to his family and serving his country, had a way about him that earned many friends.

“John is a great guy,” said Zahara Majeed, 21, of Yonkers, a friend who knew Malone when he and his sister attended Gorton. “You would never have a bad day because he would always make you smile.”

Malone, who after graduation worked at the Pathmark store on Central Avenue and later enlisted, was proud of his military service and the opportunities that came with being in the Marines, friends said.

“He loved it,” Majeed said. “It changed him. He got to see the world, something that he was never going to do if he never got into the military.”

But most of all, Malone, who last year served in Iraq, wanted to help protect his country and family, friends said.

“He had family in the Marines, so what he said was, ‘Basically, they’re trying to kill my family,’ and he wanted to go and protect people he loved and what not — the country and everything,” said Josh Blumenstetter, 24, a friend who knew Malone when he lived in Mahopac.

Malone had come to Mahopac to live with his grandmother, and, despite being new to the area, he fit in easily, said Charles Blumenstetter, Josh’s father.

“He was one of the most popular guys in town. Everybody loved him,” Charles Blumenstetter said. “He was just a polite young man and very friendly, and all I can say is I was talking to one of the kids this morning and they’re all very upset. They said John would just light up the room.”

On Tuesday, Josh Blumenstetter got an e-mail from Malone saying he had had a lot of close calls while serving in Afghanistan and was anxious to come home. He was due to come home in several weeks.

“When he was in Iraq, it seemed like he felt a lot more safe and everything seemed better,” he said.

Then, Blumenstetter got a text message from Malone’s brother Darryl at 5:15 p.m. Thursday saying, “John’s gone.”

Malone was a member of the 2nd Battalion , 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Marco Kilcawley, 22, of Columbia, S.C., served in the same company as Malone in Afghanistan but was sent back to Hawaii a couple of months ago for medical reasons.

“We went to Iraq together. We went to Afghanistan together,” Kilcawley said. “He was an all-around good Marine. He made everyone happy, even when we were around the field cold and miserable.”

During his free time, Malone would listen to songs that he had written and produced, and enjoyed hanging out with his friends, Kilcawley said. Like his friends in the company, he was torn over whether to quit the military or sign up for another tour, Kilcawley said. This last tour in Afghanistan was more difficult than their other assignments, Kilcawley said, adding that he did not know the circumstances surrounding Malone’s death.

“Afghanistan is more dangerous,” he said. “The Taliban over there are a little more braver in trying to attack us.”

Enjoyed writing, producing music

The Associated Press

John Malone liked to see his friends smiling.

So if they weren’t, he’d try to change that.

“You would never have a bad day because he would always make you smile,” a friend, Zahara Majeed, told the Journal News of Westchester, N.Y.

He was friendly and polite and could light up a room.

“He was an all-around good Marine,” said Marco Kilcawley, who served with Malone in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He made everyone happy, even when we were around the field cold and miserable.”

Malone, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., was killed Sept. 24 during fighting in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Malone, a graduate of Charles E. Gorton High School, had looked forward to serving in the military, friends and family members said.

“It was a dream that he always wanted to do,” said his mother, Maria Pacheco. “It was something he had always talked about.”

Malone joined the Marines in February 2007 and was deployed to Iraq a year later. His Afghanistan deployment was in May.

Malone also had a passion for music, and he had written and produced some songs.

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