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Old 07-25-2009, 07:17 AM
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Post CPL Nicholas G. Xiarhos, Yarmouth Port, MA(Afghanistan)

DOD News RELEASE No. 549-09 July 24, 2009

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Lasher, 27, of Oneida, N.Y., and Cpl. Nicholas G. Xiarhos, 21, of Yarmouth Port, Mass., died July 23 of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact
the II Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at(910) 451-7200.


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Old 07-27-2009, 12:37 PM
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SOUTH YARMOUTH – Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos, 21, a son of a police officer, a son of Cape Cod, died of combat wounds Thursday while serving in southern Afghanistan.

The Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School graduate, described by a classmate as “that kid everybody loved to be around,” was the oldest child of Yarmouth police Lt. Steven Xiarhos and his wife, Lisa.

“He was very brave,” Xiarhos’ father said last night as the family traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the remains of all service men and women killed overseas are returned. “He cared about people and was a really good kid.”

His son met Barack Obama when the president gave a speech at Camp Lejeune, and the young Marine decided he wanted to be part of the new offensive in Afghanistan, Steven Xiarhos said.

“He had three choices,” the elder Xiarhos said: His son could have shipped out on a mission that would have kept him onboard a ship the majority of the time, he could have waited and gone back to Iraq next month, or he could have gone directly into combat in Afghanistan.

He chose to go to Afghanistan.

“He believed in the mission,” Steven Xiarhos said. “He believed in our country.”

The Marine corporal planned to go to college and become a police officer like his father, Xiarhos added.

Jeffrey Everson, an Air Force mechanic stationed in Missouri who went to school with Nicholas, yesterday recalled his friend’s passion about serving his country, a passion his father said was heightened by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Our senior year, he was all hyped up, trying to get as many people to join the Marine Corps as he could,” Everson recalled.

In a Times interview in May 2006, shortly before he graduated from D-Y, Nicholas said joining the military “has always been something I wanted to do.” A month later, he left for boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.

Over the past three years, he participated in some of the most intense fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had been serving most recently as a squad automatic weapon gunner and squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Weapons Company out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He was part of the 10,000-member Marine Expeditionary Brigade, whose deployment was part of a push to secure Afghanistan, which has recently seen a spike in insurgent activity.

Nicholas died from combat wounds in the Garmsir district, part of the country’s Helmand Province, according to a statement from the Yarmouth police.

“Our hearts go out to Lt. Steven Xiarhos and his entire family,” said Yarmouth Police Chief Michael Almonte, who said Nicholas was a hero for the community and the country.

Nicholas had three siblings: a younger brother, Alexander, 19; and twin sisters Ashlynne and Elizabeth, 15.

News of Nicholas’ death spread quickly through the tight-knit community yesterday morning and flags across town were lowered to half staff.

Fighting back tears, Patricia Coville, mother of U.S. Marine Cpl. Andrew Coville, said she wasn’t sure her son knew Nicholas had died.

“My son is going to be devastated,” she said. Her son, Andrew, 21, was a lifelong friend who joined the Marines the same time as Nicholas. She said the Marines were trying to get a message out to her son.

“They just had this mission that they knew they were going to do,” she said.
“He’s just one of the kindest, gentlest souls,” well liked by people of all ages because of his community involvement, she said of Nicholas. A sad irony of his death, she said, was that he was not scheduled to be deployed. When Nicholas heard her son Andrew was going to Afghanistan, he volunteered to go, she said. Both men served in remote areas, she said.

In a letter to the Times published earlier this month, Steven Xiarhos wrote that his son and Coville “are proud to serve and protect our country.”

Yesterday, family and friends gathered at the Xiarhos home in Yarmouthport to remember the fallen Marine.

Rebecca Barbo, who went to the senior prom with Nicholas, said the gathering was not all tears.

“It’s sorrow and it’s grief, but they really hold themselves together,” she said of the family.

Her own memories of Nicholas include driving around the Cape in his Jeep Wrangler with the top down and his taking the time to teach her how to drive a stick shift.

As for the prom, he was the consummate gentleman, Barbo said.

“He just had a beautiful spirit that always filled the room,” she said. “When you encountered him, he was totally engaged in your conversation.”

In their senior year, he won the “Does Most For Others” award, she said, and because of that, “he’ll never be forgotten.”

D-Y principal Kenneth Jenks called Nicholas “that student who’s that quiet, determined leader in the background.”

Nicholas, a football player, was the “glue that holds the team together or holds the school together,” Jenks said.

On Monday, the school will open its doors to students who want to gather or speak to a counselor about Nicholas’ death.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who was in Provincetown yesterday, said his thoughts and prayers were with the Xiarhos family.

“I sure do respect the service and the sacrifice that these young people offer to all of us to put themselves in harm’s way,” he said after an appearance at the Fine Arts Work Center.

As of yesterday, 37 U.S. troops had died in Afghanistan this month, according to the independent Web site www.icasualties.org. That figure exceeds the previous record death toll of 28 in June 2008, according to The Associated Press.

In the opinion piece he wrote for the Times July 8, Steven Xiarhos praised the sacrifice his son, and Andrew Coville, and all the other troops were making “in the hottest, dirtiest and most dangerous places in the world.”

“The battles,” he wrote, “will not be easy. But freedom will be won and our troops, including Andrew and Nicholas, will eventually all come home.”

Yesterday, the Xiarhos family left Cape Cod for Delaware, where they will pick up the remains of Nicholas Xiarhos and prepare to bring him home.

http://www.capecodtoday.com/blogs/in...nistan?blog=53

http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pb.../NEWS/90725001
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:02 AM
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YARMOUTHPORT —

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nicholas George Xiarhos, 21, died of wounds suffered during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Nicholas was severely wounded by a roadside bomb. He fought courageously for his life before finally succumbing to his wounds despite the gallant effort of those treating him.

Nicholas was born on Feb. 12, 1988, in Hyannis. He is the first child and first son of Yarmouth Police Lt. Steven Xiarhos and his wife Lisa Xiarhos of Yarmouthport. His siblings are Alexander, 19, and his twin sisters, Ashlynne and Elizabeth, 15.

Nicholas attended Yarmouth schools and played Yarmouth Little League baseball with the Athletics. In 2005, he completed the Massachusetts State Police Junior Trooper Academy with honors. In June 2006, he graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, where he was selected to be a Student Ambassador and played baseball and football with the D-Y Dolphins.

His family, friends, teachers, and coaches remember him as a kind-hearted, selfless person who went out of his way to help others. He was affectionately nicknamed "The Mayor of D-Y" due to his outgoing personality, popularity, and ability to get along with everyone. In their senior year, his classmates presented him with the title "Does Most For Others." Nicholas enjoyed music — particularly hard rock, playing videos games, driving his Jeep, and especially spending time with his family and friends.

Nicholas had an enduring passion about serving his country and joining the military, which was heightened by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Nine days after graduating from high school, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island in South Carolina, where he was selected to be a Squad Leader. On Sept. 22, 2006, he earned the title of U.S. Marine.

Nicholas entered his first tour of duty in Iraq's Anbar province as a member of the historic 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment (1/9), nicknamed "The Walking Dead." 1/9 was responsible for all security missions in that area and was divided into Police Transition Teams (PTT) that worked directly with Iraqi police.

The lives of Nicholas and 49 other Marines and Iraqi police officers were saved in April 2008 when Marine Cpl. Jonathan Yale of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8) and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter of 1/9 stood in the path of a suicide bomber's truck and prevented it from entering the Marine outpost in Ramadi, Iraq. The two Marines gave their lives for the "Fortunate Fifty." Nicholas and his family were honored to attend the special ceremony at the Museum of the Marine Corps where Jonathan's and Jordan's sacrifices were recognized by the presentation of the Navy Cross Award for Valor, the highest award given by the Navy, to their families.

Nicholas rose conventionally from Private First Class to Lance Corporal and in March 2009 he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal.

When he learned that fellow Marine and D-Y classmate Cpl. Andrew Coville of Yarmouthport was deploying for battle in Afghanistan, Nicholas left 1/9 to fight alongside Andrew — and to honor the battalions of Jordan and Jonathan.

Nicholas personally met President Obama at Camp Lejeune in 2009 when the President gave a speech to the thousands of Marines preparing to deploy for war in Afghanistan with his historic 10,000-member Marine Expeditionary Brigade as a renewed offensive against Taliban insurgents. President Obama spoke of great sacrifices, stating, in part: "Each of you has your own story. And that story is now a part of the history of the United States of America — a nation that exists only because free men and women have bled for it from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Anbar; from the mountains of Korea to the streets of Kandahar. You teach us that the price of freedom is great. Your sacrifice should challenge all of us — every single American — to ask what we can do to be better citizens."

At the time of his death on July 23, 2009, Nicholas was an Infantry Assaultman Shoulder Launched Multi-Purpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) Gunner, Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Gunner, and Squad Leader with 2nd Battalion — known as "America's Battalion" — of the 8th Marine Regiment Weapons Company based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. During his three years of service, Corporal Xiarhos earned a Meritorious Mast Award for Outstanding Performance, Good Conduct Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, Naval Unit Citation, and will be awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

Nicholas is predeceased by his grandparents, Olga and George Xiarhos of New Bedford. He is survived by his grandparents, Joyce and John Ratcliffe of South Yarmouth; eight aunts and uncles, Carolyn Bishop, Brenda and Mark Gilbert, Donna Ratcliffe, Laurie and Phil Simonian, and Patricia and Mark Verronneau, all of Massachusetts; and by eight cousins, Nathan Bishop of California, Neil Bishop of Florida, and Nicholas Bishop, Stephen Piontowski, Emily Simonian, Jessica Simonian, Alyssa Verronneau, and Steven Verronneau, all of Massachusetts.

Nicholas was a peacemaker who chose to make a difference and protect people in need all over the world. When he last spoke with his mother two weeks ago from Afghanistan his last words were "Don't worry about me Mom ... I'm living the dream." Nicholas is now joining his grandparents and fellow fallen Marines on their next mission of guarding the gates of heaven.

The Marine Corps will be bringing Nicholas home to his family on Wednesday, July 29. Beginning about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nicholas will be escorted with honor east along Route 28 from Hyannis to the "four corners" at its intersections with North Main and Main Streets in South Yarmouth. The cortege will continue the length of Station Avenue and Union Street to Route 6A, then pass his beloved family home in Yarmouthport.

Nicholas will lie in repose at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School on Thursday, July 30, from 4 to 8 p.m.

His funeral will be held on Friday, at 10 a.m., at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Centerville.

Nicholas will be buried with full military honors at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne on Friday, at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the Xiarhos family suggests donations to the scholarship fund established in Nicholas's name by the Yarmouth Police Relief Association (YPRA). Donations can be sent to the Yarmouth Police Department - Attention: YPRA, 1 Brad Erickson Way, West Yarmouth, MA 02673, and should be labeled: Nicholas George Xiarhos Scholarship Fund.
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