Local soldiers killed in Iraq

June 25, 2008 9:13:53 PM PDT
"There's a hurt that's never going to go away." Gregory Dalessio's family stood outside his childhood home this evening and reflected on his life. A life, they say, built on honor, integrity, and truth.

Tom Pagano, the soldier's father, said "My son was a very caring, compassionate person. He was inspirational to everyone he met."

The Defense Department says Captain Dalessio was killed Monday when his patrol encountered small arms fire not far from Baghdad. The oldest of 7 siblings was helping to rebuild the war torn country.

"He was role model for them and really set a good example, and I couldn't ask anything more of a son."

They're sentiments echoed by the family of Army Reserve Major Dwayne Kelley.

"He was the type of child that if I needed help he was here to help me," said his mother, Vera Kelley.

The award winning New Jersey State Trooper was killed Tuesday in an explosion in Sadr City. Friends and neighbors arrived at his mother's house this afternoon to offer condolences.

Neighbor Don Brantley lamented "At first I didn't want to believe it. Everyone should be like him."

Kelley, who spoke fluent Arabic, had interrogated detainees at Guantanamo Bay as part of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"He just kept going, 'but Mom, I'm here to protect you. I want to make sure you and our family our protected.' Those were his words."