ROCKLAND, Mass. -- Hundreds lined Union Street and held American flags or placed their hands over their hearts as a horse-drawn caisson carried Spc. Matthew M. Pollini’s flag-draped coffin to the Holy Family Church, Feb. 2.
Local police officers and firefighters joined dozens of members of the Massachusetts National Guard in paying their respects to Pollini, who died of injuries he sustained during a vehicle roll-over near al-Kut, Iraq, Jan. 22.
“He was a true warrior; a true Citizen-Soldier…who dedicated himself to the National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, the adjutant general of Massachusetts.
Pollini deployed to Iraq with his unit, the 772nd Military Police Company, in Dec. 2008 where he was assigned as a gunner. According to his fellow Soldiers, it was a job that he knew was dangerous and he took his responsibilities very seriously.
In an email from Iraq, Pollini’s squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael Petterson said, “Tactically he was one of the best in the whole company. The kid joked around a lot and did not take much serious until he was put behind a gun, then he was all business. His squad loved him and we can never replace him.”
The church was filled to capacity as Pollini’s family and friends honored his life and service. His sister, Erica; wife, Sarah; and father, Frederick, each stood before the congregation and spoke about their loved one.
“Matthew is gone from this earth but he’ll never be forgotten; Matthew will be in our hearts for eternity,” said Frederick Pollini.
Following the mass, a procession from Rockland to Hanover led Pollini to his final place of rest. At Hanover Town Hall, Soldiers of the 211th Military Police Battalion and other units of the Massachusetts Army National Guard met the procession and marched in front for the short distance to Hanover Center Cemetery as a lone bagpiper played.
More than 100 people gathered around the Pollini family as the Massachusetts Army National Guard Soldier was laid to rest with full military honors. Maj. Gen. Carter presented folded American flags to Pollini’s wife, Sarah and his father, Frederick to show the appreciation of a grateful nation for the sacrifice of Spc. Matthew Pollini.
Pollini is survived by his wife, Sarah; his parents, Frederick and Caroline; and his siblings, Erica, Ashley, Joseph, Anthony and Angelina. Joseph Pollini is also a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, assigned to the rear detachment of the 772nd, and is due to ship to basic training in April, 2009.