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Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Hand

Died November 22, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Kansas City, Mo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 22 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

‘A good Marine, but a better brother’

The Associated Press

Nicholas J. Hand was always playing the role of older brother, whether he was marshalling his nine siblings to do chores at home in Kansas City, Mo., or leading his squad in Afghanistan.

“He was good at encouraging people and motivating them without being harsh at it,” said his brother, Brandon.

He said Nicholas was patriotic as a student and used to write quotes from military leaders and the Founding Fathers on his whiteboard.

Hand graduated early from Oak Park High School to join the Marines at 17.

In early November, Hand visited home, where he often ended up roughhousing with his brothers. Three weeks later, on Nov. 22, the 20-year-old was killed by small arms fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., and previously served in Iraq.

“He had his biological family, and he had his Marine family,” said his mother, Dawn. “You watched his face light up, and you knew that in your heart he was with his family there.”

She called Hand “a socialite” who made time for everyone in his large family, who is remembering him as “a good Marine, but a better brother.”

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