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USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER & TILTROTOR ASSOCIATION - KIA DATABASE
USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION
Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter or Tiltrotor Squadrons in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM



051102   HMLA-369     Operation IRAQI FREEDOM

Incident Date 051102 HMLA-369 AH-1W - BuNo 165321 / SM-36 - - shot down near Ramadi

[CREW]
Bloomfield II, Gerald M. Maj Pilot HMA-369 MAG-39, 3rd MAW 051102
Martino, Michael D. Capt Co-Pilot HMA-369 MAG-39, 3rd MAW 051102


BLOOMFIELD II, GERALD M. : MAJ : O4 : USMC : 38 : YPSILANTI : MI : died near Ramadi, Iraq during air to ground combat : Assigned to Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Air Group 39, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Camp Pendleton, CA

MARTINO, MICHAEL D. : CAPT : O3 : USMC : 32 : FAIRFAX : VA : died near Ramadi, Iraq during air to ground combat : Assigned to Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Air Group 39, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Camp Pendleton, CA


Department of Defense Publication:
No. 1144-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 3, 2005

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DoD Identifies Marine Casualties:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield II, 38, of Ypsilanti, Mich.
Capt. Michael D. Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Va.

Both Marines died Nov. 2 when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed while flying in support of security and stabilization operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Both Marines were with Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, their unit was attached to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II MEF (Forward).

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Arlington National Cemetery Website:

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/gmbloomfield2.htm


Michigan Marine killed in helicopter crash in Iraq

Associated Press

YPSILANTI, Mich. — A 38-year-old Marine pilot from Michigan and his co-pilot from Virginia were killed when their helicopter crashed near Ramadi, Iraq, the Pentagon and family members say.

Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield II of Ypsilanti and Capt. Michael Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Va., were aboard an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter that crashed Wednesday, the Defense Department said in a news release.

Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed Thursday that it shot down a U.S. attack helicopter near Ramadi.

The helicopter crashed during daylong fighting Wednesday in the insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad. Besides the two crewmen, an American lieutenant died when a bomb exploded as he was rushing to the crash site.

The authenticity of the statement could not be determined. It appeared on an Islamic Web site and bore the nickname of the group’s spokesman, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi.

The U.S. military said the cause of the crash was undetermined but said witnesses reported seeing what they thought was firing at the helicopter before it broke into pieces and crashed.

Bloomfield and Martino were with the Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Bloomfield joined the ROTC while a student at Eastern Michigan University because military service gave him the opportunity to live out his love for education and the armed forces, his father, Gerald Bloomfield, told the Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Marine volunteered for a third tour in Iraq because “it was worth fighting for,” his father quoted him as saying.

“He strongly believed in what he was doing,” stepmother Judy Bloomfield told The Detroit News. “He wasn’t afraid. He wanted to fight for his country.”

The father said he last spoke to his son a week ago when the Marine called him at work.

“He said, ‘I fly high and try not to get hit,”’ the father said. “I told him I loved him and to stay safe.”

Bloomfield was born in Detroit, graduated from Fowlerville High School in 1984 and from Eastern Michigan in 1988. He also earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering, his family said.

Bloomfield also is survived by wife Julie and 13-year-old son Ryan.

Bloomfield is at least the 67th member of the U.S. armed forces with known Michigan ties to die in Iraq.
A helicopter crash in Iraq,claims the life of a Marine with roots in mid-Michigan. Major Gerald Bloomfield died on Tuesday while serving in Iraq. The Marine is a Fowlerville High School graduate who died after a crash in his Cobra helicopter.
Bloomfield's family lives in Livingston County.

Kate Kerch, sister: "He was just passionate, passionate about everything."

Passion was something major Gerald Bloomfield had in spades. As a kid in the 80s, he was known around Fowlerville as a daredevil, a free spirit. His sisters remember once how Jerry, or Jer as they called him, got stuck with a friend on a frozen lake.

Kate Kerch: "They were doing donuts and the car went into the lake, and they just sat on the hood and laughed."

But those who knew Jerry, also knew he was smart.

Paula Wallace, sister: "Smart, smart, smart."

At Eastern Michigan University he earned double degrees in math and physics. Before graduating in '89, he joined the Marines. Becoming and officer and eventually a pilot. Y ears later, married and with a son, he was a career military man who believed in the job he was doing in Iraq.

Paula: "By being there, he was protecting us and everything we have here."

And he also believed in the freedom and the future of the country he was fighting in. He wrote about it in email sent home.

Kate: "It's not a 3rd world country. I believe it has hope. He wanted them to experience some of the same freedoms we have here."

And it's his sisters wish that people who knew her brother in Fowlerville understand this, a s well as the people of Iraq and in the country he was so proud to defend. Major Bloomfield will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.


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Published November 5, 2005
Family mourns Marine killed in Iraq
Fowlerville grad is school's third casualty
FOWLERVILLE, MICHIGAN - Friends and family are remembering Gerald Bloomfield II as a good-natured, humorous man who was focused on his career as a Marine and loved every minute of it.

Bloomfield II, a 38-year-old Major, died Wednesday when his AH-1W Super Cobra heli- copter crashed about 70 miles west of Baghdad. The co-pilot, Captain Michael Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Virginia, also was killed.

Bloomfield II, of Ypsilanti, is the third Fowlerville High School graduate to have died in the war, joining Lance Corporals Michael Hanks and Andrew Kilpela.

"He would fly high and see the green and know things were changing," his father, Gerald Bloomfield, said of his son's experiences in Iraq. He'd see "power lines going up - all the stuff you don't hear about in the news, all the good things going on. He was optimistic about a country coming back."

Bloomfield II graduated from Fowlerville High School in 1984. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University and was on his third tour in Iraq.

Fun times remembered

His former band teacher, Terri Palazzolo, said she remembers Bloomfield II as a good kid who also was mischievous at times.

"When something funny happened, there was no question of who was behind it," Palazzolo said.

"He never let an opportunity for a dare pass him by."

Palazzolo said she recalled how Bloomfield II and some of his friends once toilet-papered her car, and another time during band "initiation" when older members turned him upside down and stuck him in a garbage can.

But Fowlerville's Kraig Sacker said he was amazed at how much Bloomfield II had turned his life around when the two talked at their 20th class reunion in 2004.

"I sat down with him for a good 20 minutes to half-hour at the reunion," Sacker said, "and what he has accomplished and done with his life is amazing.

"Having three (Fowlerville High School) people getting killed for doing their duty over there is tough, but listening to Jerry, he felt strongly it was for a good cause."

The Livingston County community has a population of a little more than 3,100.

Bloomfield II received a score of accolades during his time with the Marines, which stretched back to 1989, including the Global War on Terror Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defenses Service Medal.

He leaves behind a son, Ryan, 13; wife, Julie Bloomfield of White Pigeon; two sisters, Paula Wallace of Howell and Katy Kerch of Brighton; brother, Tom Bloomfield of Chelsea; mother Shirley Spears of Howell; and stepmother Judy Bloomfield of Ypsilanti.

'You're so unprepared'

"You always have that feeling in the back of your head it could happen, but when it happens, you're so unprepared because you just don't want to believe it," Wallace said about her brother's death. "It's painful. It's a huge life that had so much more to go. We're just kind of standing here waiting for him to come back."

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Arlington National Cemetery Website:

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdmartino.htm


As a longtime Washington Redskins fan, Marine Captain Michael D. Martino admired former cornerback Darrell Green, a player who lacked size but had the tenacity to always make the play.
The Fairfax resident showed similar determination, whether on the high school football field or in studying for his economics degree, said his older brother, Robert M. Martino.

"We used to call him the Flea. He was always one of the smallest guys on the field, but he always made up for it with his guts," Robert Martino said last night.

Michael Martino displayed that courage and dedication most fully, his relatives said, in his career as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

Martino and another Marine officer were killed Wednesday near Ramadi in Iraq when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed as they flew a support mission, Department of Defense officials said yesterday.

The Defense Department said in a statement that the cause of the crash is under investigation. Associated Press Television News quoted an Iraqi as saying he saw insurgents shoot down the helicopter.

Martino, 32, was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq as a member of a light attack helicopter squadron out of Camp Pendleton, California.

As a teenager in Southern California, he would ride his bike to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in search of pilots to talk to or planes to watch, family members said. He spent many weekends going to military air shows, where he would be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

"My son, from the day he was a little kid, he wanted to fly," said his father, Robert A. Martino. A Marine Corps career grew alongside that dream.

High school friend Scott Tarlo described a meticulous person who would spend months building a model airplane and hours talking about fixing car engines or wiping down "his baby," a Corvette. His sense of drive took him through junior college, university and summers in officer candidate school, Tarlo said.

"He was the epitome of the self-made person," Tarlo said. "He was definitely a scrapper and worked for everything he had."

His parents moved to Fairfax City about 13 years ago, and Michael Martino followed after graduating from the University of California at San Diego. The Washington area became his home, and he entered the Basic School at Quantico Marine Corps Base for officer training in 1993.

During his first tour, as the Marines pushed to rid Fallujah of insurgents in April 2004, Martino served not in the air, but on the ground as a forward air controller. He called in airstrikes on enemy positions, and his actions during that campaign earned him a Navy Commendation Medal. His family hopes the honor will be raised to a Bronze Star.

"This guy brought all hell down on the Iraqi insurgents. . . . He saved a lot of Marines, and he killed a lot of bad guys," said retired Lieutenant Colonel Gary Lambertsen, a family friend.

Lambertsen knew Martino for only a couple of years, but he believed that the flight hours and combat experience he logged put Martino on a fast track to rise within the Marine Corps. "He saw just a tremendous amount of combat for someone of his age and his grade," Lambertsen said.

Martino is survived by his mother, father, brother and a sister and two nieces.

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Newspaper Article:
Friday, November 04 2005 @ 08:18 AM EST

Michigan Live -- YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — A 38-year-old Marine pilot from Michigan and his co-pilot from Virginia were killed when their helicopter crashed near Ramadi, Iraq, the Pentagon and family members say.

Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield II of Ypsilanti and Capt. Michael Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Va., were aboard an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter that crashed Wednesday, the Defense Department said in a news release. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed Thursday that it shot down a U.S. attack helicopter near Ramadi. The helicopter crashed during daylong fighting Wednesday in the insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad. Besides the two crewmen, an American lieutenant died when a bomb exploded as he was rushing to the crash site. The authenticity of the statement could not be determined. It appeared on an Islamic Web site and bore the nickname of the group's spokesman, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi.

The U.S. military said the cause of the crash was undetermined but said witnesses reported seeing what they thought was firing at the helicopter before it broke into pieces and crashed. Bloomfield and Martino were with the Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. Bloomfield joined the ROTC while a student at Eastern Michigan University because military service gave him the opportunity to live out his love for education and the armed forces, his father, Gerald Bloomfield, told the Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Marine volunteered for a third tour in Iraq because "it was worth fighting for," his father quoted him as saying. "He strongly believed in what he was doing," stepmother Judy Bloomfield told The Detroit News. "He wasn't afraid. He wanted to fight for his country." The father said he last spoke to his son a week ago when the Marine called him at work. "He said, `I fly high and try not to get hit,'" the father said. "I told him I loved him and to stay safe."

Bloomfield was born in Detroit, graduated from Fowlerville High School in 1984 and from Eastern Michigan in 1988. He also earned a master's degree in electrical engineering, his family said. Bloomfield also is survived by wife Julie and 13-year-old son Ryan.


Newspaper Article:
Three Pendleton Marines die in Iraq
By: MARK WALKER AND TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writers

NORTH COUNTY ---- Three more Camp Pendleton Marines have been killed in Iraq, the Defense Department announced Thursday, raising the number of locally based Marines killed in the war to 250.

Two of the Marines, Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield II and Capt. Michael D. Martino, died Wednesday near the city of Ramadi when their attack helicopter crashed during a fight with insurgents.

Defense officials said Thursday they still aren't certain whether the AS-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed as a result of mechanical problems or enemy fire. Ramadi is about 70 miles west of Baghdad, the site of frequent clashes between U.S. troops and insurgents.

The third Camp Pendleton Marine reported killed this week was Sgt. Daniel A. Tsue, 27, who died when a homemade bomb exploded as he was taking part in the ground combat in Ramadi, the department said.

Associated Press Television News quoted an Iraqi man as saying he saw the crash that killed Bloomfield and Martino, and that "insurgents fired at the helicopter and shot it down." That report remained unconfirmed as of late Thursday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Lt. Victoria Jennings at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Bloomfield and Martino were both with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered at Miramar. The men were based at Camp Pendleton as members of the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369. Both men were on their second tours since the war began in 2003.

Bloomfield, 38, of Ypsilanti, Mich., joined the service in 1989 and was promoted to major in 2000.
Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Va., entered the service in 1993, achieving the rank of captain in 2000.

Tsue's family also could not be reached for comment. Camp Pendleton officials said Tsue was a member of a team that defuses bombs. A native of Honolulu, Tsue was part of the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, which is part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. At the time of his death, Tsue's unit was attached to the East Coast-based 2nd Force Service Support Group, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. Tsue joined the Marine Corps on Dec. 16, 1998. Like Bloomfield and Martino, he had a litany of personal awards, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, according to Camp Pendleton officials.

About a third of the fatalities from Pendleton have died in or near Ramadi since the war began in 2003. A city of about 350,000 on the banks of the Euphrates River, Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, which borders on Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Newspaper Article - L A TIMES:
MILITARY DEATHS
Marine Capt. Michael Martino, 32, Oceanside; Killed in Helicopter Crash
By Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer

At age 9, in what would become an annual ritual, Michael Martino tumbled out of bed at the crack of dawn, pedaled his bike across Irvine and spent the day watching planes at the El Toro Air Show.

"He always knew his mission in life was to be a pilot," said his mother, Sybil.

In high school, between stints on the football and wrestling teams, his hobby was assembling model aircraft. After graduating with an economics degree from UC San Diego in 1996, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and earned his wings.

When he was later dispatched to Iraq, he told his father, "If something happens, I don't want you and Mom to get mad at the military or the government. I'm doing what I love to do and what I believe in."

On Nov. 2, as Capt. Martino and his co-pilot flew a support mission near Ramadi, a shoulder-fired enemy rocket streaked into the sky, knocking their Super Cobra helicopter to the ground and killing both men, according to news reports. Al Qaeda insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

Martino, 32, was assigned to Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Back home, friends and relatives recalled the Oceanside resident as a quiet, selfless man who was devoted to family, work and the Washington Redskins, his favorite football team.

In Iraq, fellow Marines nicknamed him "Oprah" because he was so good at listening to people's problems. It was a trait he developed in childhood.

"Whenever I had a nightmare, I'd go to Mike instead of our parents," said his older sister, Lauri. "He'd stay up and talk to me until I could go back to sleep."

He had a contagious smile and generous spirit, said Katie Ashford, whose husband, Brian, went through flight school with Martino and served in the same squadron. "I've never known anyone to love their friends unconditionally, but Mike did," she said.

Martino also had a playful side. In September, after learning that high school pal Scott Tarlo had to pay 0,000 in estate taxes after the death of a parent, Martino told him the sum would pay for one of the Hellfire missiles carried by his helicopter. A few weeks later, Tarlo received a photo of Martino next to a missile painted with Tarlo's name and the message, "USMC thanks you."

Born in 1973 on the Marshall Islands, where his parents worked as military contractors, Martino was the youngest of three children. When he was 8, the family moved to Irvine.

At Woodbridge High School he joined the football team and was nicknamed "Flea" for his small size and tenacious play.

After college, he signed up as a Marine and eventually was assigned to a light-attack helicopter squadron based at Camp Pendleton.

In 2004, during his first tour of duty in Iraq, he called in airstrikes on enemy positions in Fallujah, earning a Navy Commendation Medal and a nomination for a Bronze Star.

But Martino wasn't hardened by combat, his mother said. He risked his own safety to rescue civilians and consulted a chaplain about "the anguish he felt for killing people," she said. The chaplain told him he was a peacekeeper, as described in the Bible.

Martino's second tour of duty began a few weeks ago, this time as a helicopter pilot. Before he shipped out, his parents visited him at Camp Pendleton and had "a sinking feeling it would be the last time we saw him," his mother said.

Martino will be buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In addition to his parents and sister, he is survived by a brother, Robert; and two nieces.

Earlier this week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state Capitol flags flown at half-staff in honor of Martino and his co-pilot, Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield II.


USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER & TILTROTOR ASSOCIATION