Area marine laid to rest

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:55

    WEST MILFORD-The sky itself seemed to weep as a cold rain soaked numerous residents who braved the bone-chilling cold, Jan. 8, to pay their respects to a fallen hometown hero. As a hearse carrying the remains of this community's first casualty of the Iraq War drove slowly to the church on Germantown Road where he would be buried, signs of support for the family were interspersed with hand-held replicas of the Star-Spangled Banner. Brian P. Parrello, 19, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was laid to rest with full military honors in St. Joseph Cemetery here. More than 400 people including family, residents and politicians attended the funeral mass that preceded the burial. A contingent of U.S. Marines provided the honor guard and served as pallbearers. First Lt. Kate VandenBossche, a public affairs officer with the 2nd Marine Division declined to provide details on Parrello's death, saying such details could provide information of use to the enemy. Parrello was shot while sweeping the banks of the Euphrates following an ambush earlier that day, according to a published report on the Internet. First Sgt. Martin Hansen, the casualty assistance calling officer who notified the Parrello family, confirmed the family was devastated by the loss. The family reportedly was notified of his death about 2 p.m. Saturday. By Monday, word had spread throughout this 80-square-mile community. High school Principal Michael McCormick said he was "college material and could have gone to college but he wanted to go into the Marines. He was a hockey and football player and a college prep student. He was never in trouble. Parrello graduated from West Milford High School in 2003. "In the spring of his senior year, he said he had already enlisted in the Marines and was going to go in after graduation," recalled McCormick. "It's very difficult for us. It really hits home when it's one of yours."