- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Marine Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wojciechowski
Died April 30, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
25, of Cincinnati; assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died April 30 in Camp Baharia, Iraq, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. James R. McIlvaine.
Family had deep military roots
The Associated Press
Mark A. Wojciechowski was raised in a military household. His step-grandfather served in the Marines and his mother served in the Army.
Wojciechowski signed up for basic training the fall after he graduated high school. It was there that he really grew up, said Cathy Dillinger, Wojciechowski’s step-grandmother.
“It’s one of those cases where he goes in a boy and comes out a man,” Dillinger said. “After basic training, he aged emotionally 10 years. He was just a good man.”
Wojciechowski, 25, of Cincinnati died April 30 while supporting combat operations in Anbar province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
“He loved being a Marine. He probably would have made a career out of it,” Dillinger said. “He just wanted to do his duty wherever he could.”
Wojciechowski, or “Tony Wojo” as he liked to be known, was on his second deployment to Iraq and had been a Marine for six years.
“He went out and did the duty as he saw fit and put his life on the line for the kind of things we value in the community. It’s a tragedy he’s been lost to us,” said Gary Brooks, superintendent of West Clermont Schools.
Ohio Marine, 25, killed in Iraq
By Alex Shebar
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Staff Sgt. Mark Anthony Wojciechowski lived for being a Marine.
He died as a Marine, too.
Wojciechowski, 25, of the Glen Este area of Clermont County, was killed Thursday in Iraq with another Marine and a sailor. He was part of a Marine bomb squad and died when a bomb exploded, although it remains unclear what the trio were doing at the time of their deaths.
“He loved being a Marine. He probably would have made a career out of it,” said Cathy Dillinger, Wojciechowski's step-grandmother. "He just wanted to do his duty wherever he could."
Wojciechowski, or Tony Wojo as he liked to be known, was on his second deployment to Iraq and had been a Marine for six years, Dillinger said. He had just re-upped to serve again.
The Department of Defense said Wojciechowski and Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, Md., died while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, just west of Baghdad.
Family members were told of his death Friday. Wojciechowski's mother, Teresa Dillinger, has gone to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to meet the casket, Cathy Dillinger said.
Wojciechowski attended Glen Este High School for his freshman and sophomore years — the same school from which Army Sgt. Matt Maupin graduated. Maupin was taken hostage and killed in 2004.
"As a West Clermont student, Tony epitomizes all the things we want our students to achieve and be," said Gary Brooks, superintendent of West Clermont Schools. "He went out and did the duty as he saw fit and put his life on the line for the kind of things we value in the community. It's a tragedy he's been lost to us."
For his junior year, Wojciechowski transferred to the Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus in Sharonville to be part of its junior ROTC program.
Dillinger said Wojciechowski was raised in a military household. His step-grandfather served in the Marines and his mother served in the Army. Wojciechowski signed up for basic training the fall after he graduated. It was there that he really grew up, she said.
“It's one of those cases where he goes in a boy and comes out a man," Dillinger said. "After basic training, he aged emotionally 10 years. He was just a good man."
Wojciechowski's father, also named Mark, lives in New Jersey, Dillinger said. Wojciechowski was also close with his maternal grandmother, Judy Grose, and his 16-year-old sister, Tiffany.
"He was a very good older brother. Not so much when he was living at home; they fought like every other brother and sister," Dillinger said. "But when he went in the service, they've been very devoted to each other."
Wojciechowski was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, in Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Wojciechowski's casket will arrive in a few days. No services have been planned, but Clermont County will be doing anything the family requests, said Bob Proud, Clermont County commissioner.
"If the family would like, we would be more than willing to have a celebration of his life and service," he said.
The county will be flying all flags at half-staff, Proud said. The Sheriff's Department will be coordinating the procession from the airport to a funeral home. Proud is hoping that people will line the route, holding flags and signs as the casket passes by.
"We want him to know how much Clermont County appreciated his service and honor his sacrifice," he said. "We want the family to know that he is a hero. He's the ultimate hero."
Dillinger is also hoping the area will respect and support the brave sacrifice her grandson made.
"I hope very much that he gets the support of the community that he deserves," she said. "I hope people are still as patriotic as they were a couple years ago because he deserves the outpouring."
Roads to be renamed after fallen Marine
By Gabrielle Walter
The Cincinnati Enquirer
UNION TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Clermont County officials will honor a fallen Marine on Sept. 6.
Staff Sgt. Mark Anthony “Wojo” Wojciechowski died April 30, 2009, during combat operations in Iraq.
Portions of Eastgate Boulevard, Ferguson Drive and Ivy Boulevard will be designated as “Wojo’s Way” at the ceremony in Union Township.
“We are proud to be able to dedicate these roads in honor of a very special young man,” said Pat Manger, Clermont County Engineer.
A boulder inscribed with “Wojo’s Way” will be displayed at the round-a-bout connecting Eastgate Blvd. to Ferguson Drive.
“Wojo’s Way pays tribute to the young hero who used to ride his bike to work through the very same area where the boulder bearing his name will be displayed,” said Manger.
Wojciechowski joined the Marines at 17, said Teresa Dillinger, his mother.
“Tony loved everything about the Marines Corps,” Dillinger said. “His dedication to duty equaled his passion for life. He was truly a very well-rounded, well-grounded dedicated son, brother, Marine and friend.”
His family is preparing for the second annual motorcycle memorial ride Sept. 17 that benefits the Remembering Tony “Wojo” scholarship through Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation.