Hundreds mourn Greenpoint Marine at funeral

Hundreds mourn Greenpoint Marine at funeral
Photo by Tom Callan

Hundreds of Greenpointers — civilians and soldiers alike — mourned slain Marine Sgt. Nicholas Aleman on Wednesday morning during a poignant funeral mass at St. Anthony’s Church.

Aleman was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 5 when a suicide bomber ambushed his camp as he was sleeping. It was his second tour with the Marines, but his first trip to the combat zone.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) attended the mass out of respect for Aleman’s service.

“Nicholas Aleman sacrificed his life for his country and our freedom and safety,” said Levin. “The Greenpoint community can never thank him and his family enough for their sacrifice and we will honor his memory for generations to come.”

Aleman grew up on Manhattan Avenue and attended high school in Midwood. He first enlisted in the Marines in 2004 and re-upped a few years later after working towards a political science degree at Fordham University. This was his second tour of duty in combat.

He moved back into the neighborhood, renting an apartment on India Street before departing for the combat tour in Afghanistan three months ago.

Scores of Marine Corps soldiers and veterans from the St. Stan’s Memorial American Legion Post joined Aleman’s family, some of whom still live in Brooklyn, in honoring his legacy.

Fordham University’s president Joseph McShane said he couldn’t imagine the grief Aleman’s family was feeling, in a statement sent out to the University Wednesday.

“To lose a child in the prime of life is the worst nightmare of every parent, and it is heartbreaking,” said McShane. “The Fordham family joins with me in keeping Nicholas and his friends and loved ones in our prayers. May he rest in peace.”

Aleman is one of the 1,413 Americans who have died in Afghanistan, the nation’s longest war.

Mourners gathered at St. Anthony’s Church on Manhattan Avenue for a tribute to slain Marine and local hero Nicholas Aleman, who was killed on Dec. 5 in Afghanistan.
Photo by Tom Callan