Two more local U.S. servicemen - one
hoping to be home for Christmas, the other just hours
away from the end of his tour of duty - were killed in
Iraq on Sunday, military officials said yesterday.
They were identified as Army Sgt. Mario Nelson, 26,
of Brooklyn, and Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove,
23, of Cedar Knolls, N.J.
Nelson was killed when a rocketpropelled grenade
exploded near his vehicle in Hit, a volatile Sunni
population center in the Euphrates valley about 85 miles
He was serving with the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry
Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division,
based in Friedberg, Germany.
Gary Nelson, 23, said his brother, who came to the
U.S. from Haiti at age 8, "was willing to give his life
like he did" because he loved his adopted country and
"He was a good man, a good friend and son, a good
father and uncle, you name it," Gary Nelson said.
Sgt. Nelson's wife, Mecca, and daughter, Mia, 3, were
at the Friedberg base last night but were expected to
return to Canarsie by week's end.
Nelson joined the National Guard after graduating
from George Westinghouse Vocational High School in
downtown Brooklyn. While digging for remains at Ground
Zero after Sept. 11, he decided to join the Army and
enlisted in 2003.
Cosgrove, who left Monmouth University to enlist in
the Marines, died at a Fallujah checkpoint. It was the
last day of his seven-month stint on combat duty.
He was scheduled to return home this week.
Neighbors, citing an announcement in a local weekly
publication, noted Cosgrove had planned to marry next
In a sad twist, Daily News columnist Michael Daly on
Monday told the story of Staten Islander Elaine Brower
and her nerve-racking days awaiting the return home of
her son, Marine Sgt.James Brower.
Elaine Brower told of a fellow Marine, Cosgrove,
laughing in the background as she spoke with her son on
the phone. Then came an e-mail from Iraq telling her
that a Marine in her son's unit had been killed while on
final patrol Sunday.
It was Cosgrove.
Originally published on
October 4, 2006