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Saved in Iraq, Marine dies in Afghanistan

July 25, 2009 | 10:39 am


When Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos was in Iraq in April 2008 as part of the Camp Pendleton-based Regimental Combat Team One, his life was saved by two Marines who stopped an explosive-laden suicide truck from penetrating the perimeter of the Marine compound in Ramadi.

The two Marines were killed but saved the lives of dozens of Marines and Iraqi soldiers.

"He wasn't your stereotypical infantry grunt," Xiarhos told The Times in describing one of the two, who was from his battalion. "He was quiet, there to do a job, not cocky or boastful, just there to do a job."

Today, similar things are being said of Xiarhos, who died Thursday in southern Afghanistan of wounds incurred during combat.

Assigned to the 2nd battalion, 8th regiment from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the 21-year-old Xiarhos was in Helmand Province where Marine units from Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejeune, Hawaii, and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego are confronting the Taliban on its home turf.

His high school principal, quoted in the Cape Cod Times, remembered Xiarhos, the son of a Massachusetts police officer, as "that student who is [the] quiet, determined leader in the background."

Xiarhos' body is set to arrive today at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

---Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos and family. Credit: Xiarhos family