Lance Cpl. John J. Malone

Lance Cpl. John J. Malone, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., died Sept. 24 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Fore, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay

By Hannan Adely [0x07]and Hoa Nguyen • @

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."

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Marine Saluting Courtesy Sgt Michal S. Williams

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 Afghan[0xad]istan 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."

He lives alone In the hills and the trees
He bares his soul To the cool mountain breeze
He talks to the Spirit He listens to the Wind
They shield him from memories Buried deep within
The world has forgotten The sacrifice he made
The scars he bears remind him Of the high price he paid
Freedom is not given But with blood it has been bought
By warriors such as he And by the wars they fought
We can't forget our warriors Or let them die in vain
But with respect and honor We can help to ease their pain
Our Freedom will be taken If no one will defend
God bless our Forgotten Warriors Who live to fight again.

God and the soldier all men adore
in times of trouble, but no more.
For when war is ended and all things righted,
God is neglected, the old soldier slighted.