-- Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Benedict Cosgrove III of Cedar
Knolls, a 2001 graduate of Whippany Park High School, was killed in
action in Iraq on Sunday.
Details of how and where in the country Cosgrove died were
unclear Monday night.
The Department of Defense issues press releases listing military
casualties on its Web site 24 hours after the last official next of
kin of the deceased soldier has been notified, according to Lt.
Commander Joe Carpenter, a department spokesman.
However, on Monday word quickly spread throughout Hanover and to
Cosgrove's former high school through people close to family members
and the local Marine office at Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway
Reached at home Monday afternoon, Cosgrove's mother, Charlene Bowie,
referred all phone calls to 1st Sgt. William Meisinger at the
Picatinny Arsenal office.
Art Bowie, Charlene's husband, declined to comment when reached
by phone at his business in Livingston.
Meisinger did not return phone calls and several messages left
for him throughout the day.
The Marine, 23, was a beloved alumnus, according to his high
school Principal John Manning.
The inscription beneath Cosgrove's 2001 senior yearbook photo
reads, "Pride and Commitment: Whippany Park High School Football,"
Manning said, "and his pride in the football team was important to
In addition to football, where he wore No. 68, he also was a
member of the school's track and lacrosse teams.
"Chris was one of the hardest workers and, typical of his Marine
Corps attitude, he always placed the team above everything else,"
Manning said. "He was a very team-oriented young man and very fond
of Whippany Park High School. He visited us often."
The last time Cosgrove visited his former teachers at the high
school was last spring, just before he shipped out for Iraq.
Assistant Wildcats football coach Brent Kaiser chatted with
Cosgrove for 20 minutes in a lobby at the high school that spring
before the marine was sent to Iraq.
"He was good to have around," Kaiser said. "He would do anything
for the team."
Kaiser, a 13-year-veteran football coach, said Cosgrove was
"overly proud" about joining the Marines.
Cosgrove enlisted in the Corps just after leaving Monmouth
University in 2005.
Determined to serve
"He could've very easily found a job over here and settled down,"
Kaiser said. "He had this excitement for what he was doing in that
last conversation we had, it stood out, just how really
strong-willed he was. He knew what he wanted to do. Not too many
people would just get up and do what he did, to go fight for your
country. It was a big decision. I have a lot of respect for him for
Cosgrove intelligently discussed the consequences of what he was
setting out to do and said that joining the military would be
beneficial for him later, Kaiser said.
Whippany Park High School plans to observe a moment of silence
this morning in Cosgrove's memory, according to Manning. Formal
funeral arrangements were not complete on Monday.
Several cars were parked outside Cosgrove's home in the Trail
Woods development in Hanover on Monday. Two flags -- the U.S. flag
and a red Marine flag -- hung low from poles. Several other homes in
Trail Woods had smaller American flags at their curbs.
Cosgrove's grandfather from his mother's side, Charles Angelo
Turrisi Sr., of Roxbury, who died in 2004, served as a pilot during
World War II. His plane was shot down over Yugoslavia and he was
held prisoner until the war ended, according to Turrisi's obituary.
A tragic first
Cosgrove is believed to be the first serviceman from Hanover to
have died in Iraq. Five other servicemen from Morris County have
been killed in Iraq since the start of the war.
Lance Cpl. Robert J. Slattery was the only other Marine from
Hanover who was killed in action, in Vietnam, since that war,
according to Pete Gallo, commandant of the Whippany-based Lance
Corporal Robert J. Slattery Detachment of the U.S. Marine Corps
League, where Cosgrove was scheduled to become the junior
vice-commandant on Wednesday.
The military reported three Marines died in the al Anbar Province
in Iraq on Sunday, but did not release names, pending family
notification. Carpenter on Monday said it would be speculation to
connect that incident to Cosgrove.