Minnesota Marine killed in Iraq

Lance Cpl. Robert Posivio III
Lance Cpl. Robert Posivio III spends a quiet moment at a memorial service in April for one of his comrades, Lance Cpl. Stephen J. Perez. Posivio, of Sherburn, Minnesota, was killed in Iraq on Tuesday.
Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, courtesy 1st Marine Division

Robert Posivio, 22, grew up on a farm near Sherburn just 15 miles west of Fairmont.

Randy Grupe, superintendent at Martin County West schools, says Posivio was a solid student and athlete.

Posivio's parents with Purple Heart
Robert and Patti Posivio thought the two Marines who showed up at the Sherburn farm were there to deliver a Purple Heart their son earned a month earlier. Instead, the Marines told them their son, Robert III, was dead.
MPR Photo/Cara Hetland

"Robert was just a real fine young man, and a real vibrant personality in the community," says Grupe. "He was real active in school, in both the extra curricular and co-curricular activities. Some of those included band, choir, FFA, football and wrestling."

Posivio joined the Marines four years ago, right out of high school. He was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. Posivio was killed Tuesday when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb.

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His parents, Robert Jr. and Patti, said Thursday this was their son's third tour of duty in Iraq.

"He was scared. He didn't want to go, but he went because it was his duty. He loved his country, and he wanted to serve it," his parents said.

Robert Posivio in high school and as Marine
Robert Posivio loved football and wrestling. His parents say he was duty-bound to finish his four years of service, even though they say he was scared to serve in Iraq. Posivio was scheduled to be discharged in July.
MPR Photo/Cara Hetland

Posivio had just recently been sent back into combat after he was injured in an attack on his unit in April. In that attack near Fallujah, Posivio was injured, and two other Marines were killed.

Posivio's father Robert Jr. said when two Marines came to his house this week, he thought it was about the earlier incident.

"We were hoping when we saw those men coming across our yard that they were delivering the Purple Heart that my son had earned a month prior from previous injuries. But that was not the case," Posivio said. "It was very hard."

A photo supplied by the Marine Corps shows Robert Posivio at a memorial service for one of those soldiers, kneeling before a memorial made from the soldier's helmet and rifle.

He was scared. He didn't want to go, but he went because it was his duty. He loved his country, and he wanted to serve it.

School superintendent Randy Grupe says Posivio was proud to serve as a Marine.

"Robert was a real doer ... What I always remember is that when Robert was home on leave and had a break from the service, (he was) always in military dress. He was just so proud to be serving our country," says Grupe. "Whether it was at church, or whether it might be at Memorial Day services, or it might be at some other function at the school -- it might be a football game he came back for -- he was always in military dress. He was so proud of that."

The Posivio family suffered another loss two years ago, when another son, 19-year-old Daniel, was killed in a car accident while home on leave from the Navy.

"That's more than one family should have to endure, that's for sure," he says.

Grupe says Posivio's tour of duty in Iraq would have ended in July.

"He was looking forward to coming back home and seeing his girlfriend, and those type of things," says Grupe. "I'm not sure what his professional goals would have been, but this would have been the completion of his four years in the military."

Funeral arrangements for Robert Posivio are pending. In addition to his parents, Posivio is also survived by a sister.