Denis M. Alessandrine
Denis M. Alessandrine
2/1 Echo Raiders 66-67
June 19, 1945 - August 6, 2020
Denis. M. Alessandrine (Denny) of SWP, died suddenly on August 6, 2020. Denny served his country as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War with 2nd Bn 1st Marines and earned several medals including a Purple Heart. He worked as an ironworker for local 401 until his retirement. Cherished partner of the late Lucille (Peanut) Capuano who passed away earlier this year. Loving father of Denny Junior (Kimberly), Scott (Penelope), Thomas Capuano (Kathy). Also survived by his grandchildren, Tommy Jr., Brianna, Braden, Michael and Kristan. Sister JoAnn Alessandrine and many loving nieces and nephews. Funeral and interment will be held privately. In lieu of any flowers and cards we request donations to: The Gary Sinise Foundation, PO Box 368, Woodland Hills, CA 91365
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About Denis M. Alessandrine
Aka: "Sgt AL" by Coloniel Jim Bathurst USMC Ret.
Today, a Saturday, started out as any other day in my near 80 years of life. Its not a weekend to me since retiring, hell every day is a weekend. But then I received some news that struck a dagger into my heart. And I do mean it hit me hard and I have to share it with my followers, many of whom served and will understand how and why this sort of news hits one deep in the soul. For those who may not have been there, please excuse my posting something you may not understand. So simply pass it by if you wish,this is personal
Raiders of Echo 2/1, it is with the heaviest of heart that I inform you of the passing of one helluva Marine with whom we all served in 1966-67. One of whom I owe so much, the best damn Platoon Sergeant anyone could ever ask for regardless of ones position in the platoon, but especially for me as the plt cmdr. As we all knew and loved him, "Sgt AL" Dennis Alessandrine. He and his son Denny Jr. attended our first reunion.
I just got off the phone with son Denny Jr and his sister JoAnn with whom I frequently communicated in an attempt to get him to come to another reunion. I spoke with Sgt Al just two weeks ago where we spoke of the passing of his lifelong girlfriend, Peanuts as he called her. He missed her terribly. She was in a nursing home with Alzheimers, where for the past nine years, he had traveled there to feed her three times a day. Yes, three times a day - EVERYDAY! He never missed a day, which is why he could not attend any of our subsequent reunions. We talked about her as we always did when we had our periodic phone conversations. She passed in March and he was having a rough time getting over it, but was enjoying his grandchildren.
It appears from initial reports Sgt Al died of an apparent heart attack on Thursday at the age of 73. He is to be cremated and the services as now planned will be this coming Thursday in PA.
Sgt Al and I sailed to RVN together, survived our time in hell together, came back together, and remained best friends and brothers since then. I loved him like the brother I never had.
I have so many memories of our time together in RVN, more so than any other members of the company. We looked out for one another and probably saved one anothers life more times than we cared to count. As some of you know who read the book, I somehow became the Skippers "Pinch hitter platoon commander." Anytime we lost a Lt for whatever reason I was sent in to take over. I always requested Sgt AL to come with me, and sometimes the Skipper approved, sometimes not.
I remember so many times when we were setting up to cross a danger area on patrol. Two squads on either side of the crossing point along with guns and mortars, I′d take the third squad and start crossing. Sgt Al always said "Let me take the squad across, we can′t afford to lose you!" I′d laugh and say bullshit, we need you more than me."
One time as I we were preparing for the cross I was looking for Sgt AL to give him the heads up to take charge of the base of fire squads and I looked up and the crossing squad had already started across with Sgt AL in charge.
That crossing turned live, they drew fire from two directions to their front. The crossing squad hit the deck in the swollen rice paddies and the base of fire squads opened up with a high volume of fire along with the 60 mortars and machine guns. Once fire superiority was achieved I fired a red star cluster, the base of fire squads shifted their fire outboard and the crossing squad fired and maneuvered across the paddy to the treeline and set up a defensive position. We took no casualties and found three dead VC once we all got across.
After setting a PPB and eating a C, Sgt AL stunk to high heaven having laid in a smelly knee deep rice paddy for several minutes. He joked he was not going to demand to take the crossing squad anymore. He lied, he continued to do so every time.
He was from Philly and was fearless, always ready for whatever "Murphy" could possibly throw at us on patrol. He was a hero in my eyes and to the troops as well. I will certainly miss our periodic phone calls.
May God welcome him into heaven with all the pomp and circumstance deserved of a hero!
And God bless the entire Alessandrine family and friends.
Here are some cherished photos of the brother I never had!