Coastal Empire Soldier Killed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/04/03

Coastal Empire Soldier Killed

The Coastal Empire has lost another soldier. Stephen Anthony Bertolino, Sr., who used to work for the Chatham County Sheriff's Department, was serving with the Army's Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. SSgt. Bertolino was killed Saturday when his unit was ambushed just east of Husaybah, Iraq.

Bertolino was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield with the 9/24 Aviation Regiment from 1996 to 2000. During that time, he also volunteered as a reservist with the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.

Harry Spirides looked over a website today of all the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He's still in shock that his friend Tony Bertolino is one of the latest casualties. "Last I'd heard he was going out West to train and next thing he was dead, killed in action," Spirides said.

SSgt. Bertolino was one of two Fort Carson soldiers killed in the attack.

Spirides met Bertolino when he was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield. The two were both volunteering as reservists with the Chatham County Sheriff's Department. "Tony was very charming, likable guy," said Spirides. "He always had a smile on his face. He was always easy to get along with. The first to volunteer for any chore at hand."

He'll be missed sincerely, especially by those he served with and volunteered with, as well as his wife and four young kids. "My heart goes out to his family and all families who've lost loved ones to this global war on terror," said Spirides.

The Chatham County Sheriff's Department will have a police memorial service for SSgt. Bertolino on Tuesday at 6:30pm in the department's muster room.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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