Bethesda Marine Dies of Bomb Wounds

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 12, 2006

A U.S. Marine from Bethesda died Wednesday from wounds received in Iraq, 18 days before his first wedding anniversary.

"They had so many plans, so many things they wanted to do," the Marine's mother, Gilda Carbonaro, said when reached by telephone yesterday in Germany, where her son died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro, 28, was known as Alex. A reconnaissance Marine with numerous medals and commendations, he was wounded May 1 while involved in combat operations in Anbar province, according to the U.S. Defense Department. He was injured when the Humvee in which he was riding ran over an improvised explosive device. He suffered burns over 60 percent of his body, his mother said.

Carbonaro was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Carbonaro grew up in a red-brick home on a tree-lined street northwest of downtown Bethesda. His mother teaches Spanish at St. Albans School. His father, Fulvio Carbonaro, a native of Italy, is an information technology consultant. Alex was their only child.

As a boy, he hated seeing other children picked on, his mother said. He graduated from Sandy Spring Friends School. In his spare time, he and his buddies played in a basement rock band, with Alex on guitar.

He joined the Marines in 1998. Four years later, while home on holiday, he met his wife-to-be, Gilda, through friends of his parents. "Love at first sight," a family member said.

Gilda was then a student at George Washington University. Her first name is the same as Carbonaro's mother's.

In 2004, Carbonaro took part in the assault on Fallujah, suffering a foot injury from an explosive device.

The next year, on May 28, he and Gilda married. By that time his priorities had changed, his family said. He was planning to get out of the Marine Corps by the end of next year. The couple wanted to live either in Georgia near her parents or in the Washington area near his parents.

The couple wanted to raise children, travel and have "long Sunday dinners with their parents," his mother said.

On Monday, Carbonaro's father warned neighbors that his son's condition had deteriorated. "Our pain is unbearable," he wrote.

Two days later, he wrote again: "Our dearest son Alex passed away at 10:30 this morning." He wrote that four people -- he, Alex's mother, his wife and his mother-in-law -- were at his side. "We held him in our arms until he exhaled his last breath."

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