Private First Class Matthew Pollini, 21, Rockland
It was as if he was meant to be in the military. Matthew Pollini joined in paintball wars and went to shooting ranges, family members said. But he had a softer side, too, and was the first to make his 2-year-old niece laugh.
Pollini planned to buy his new wife a home. Pollini, who was married just four days before leaving Rockland for his first tour of duty in Iraq, died Jan. 22, 2009, when his Humvee overturned near al-Kut. Pollini's 17-year-old brother, Joey, a private in the Army National Guard, recalled playing the video game Guitar Hero with his brother on Christmas just before he left for Iraq. "He was my best friend," Joey Pollini said.