- Date of passing: Sep 22, 2003
|Let the memory of Spc Paul be with us forever|
21, of Rice Lake, Wis.; assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Sept. 22 from a non-combat weapons discharge in Quest, Iraq.
Brother takes different road after death of sibling in Iraq
RACINE, Wis. — Army Spc. Alonzo Sturino arranged his little brother’s hair in his casket at the Hanson Funeral Home, carefully placed rosary beads in his hands and made sure all other details were perfect.
They were things Sturino wished he didn’t have to do Sunday for his 21-year-old brother Spc. Paul J. Sturino, who died Sept. 22 in Quest, Iraq.
Paul Sturino had been assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Family members say he died as the result of an accidental discharge from another soldier’s firearm.
Alonzo Sturino also had escorted his brother’s body to Wisconsin, first to Racine, where area relatives gathered for services, and then to the Sturino brothers’ hometown, Rice Lake.
After years of Alonzo leading and Paul following — from high school wrestling at Rice Lake High School, joining the Army, then going to Iraq — Paul’s death now sets the brothers on separate journeys.
Duane Sturino of Kenosha, the brothers’ uncle, said his nephews were having a friendly race to see who would be the first promoted to sergeant.
“Alonzo said he is even more motivated now because of Paul’s death,” Duane Sturino said.
Overcast skies and rain reflected the somber gathering at the funeral home, where the American flag flew at half-staff. Red, white and blue was the theme for the flower sprays that surrounded the casket, which was also draped in a flag.
Family members reminisced about the happy boy who often spent summers in Kenosha, where the Sturino family is widely known and well-loved. Paul’s grandparents, George and Gloria, ran a family restaurant in Kenosha for years. Paul also spent three summers on the Barracuda Swim Team in Kenosha.
“He was a fun-loving, well-liked young man,” Duane Sturino said.
The Rev. Jeffrey Thielen, who officiated at the slain soldier’s memorial service, reminded the Sturino family that Paul will always be in their hearts.
“He dedicated his life to make the world better for us, and for that we say, ‘Thank you, Paul,”’ Thielen said.
A burial with full military honors at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery was planned, Spooner said.
Sturino is the fourth Wisconsin soldier to die in Iraq. Army Reservist Dan Gabrielson, 40, of Frederic, was killed July 9; Army Maj. Mathew Schram, 36, of Brookfield, died May 27 and Marine Sgt. Kirk Straseskie, 23, of Beaver Dam, drowned May 19.
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