Mourning a Fallen Marine's Lost Future

By Mark Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 10, 2009

Capt. Warren A. Frank had served nearly three tours in Iraq. He was a Marine, but he was also a husband and a father who looked forward to retiring from the service, teaching high school history and coaching track.

Those dreams and ambitions were dashed when Frank, 26, was killed Nov. 25 while supporting combat operations in Ninewa province, Iraq, the Department of Defense reported.

According to a statement released by his father, Warren R. Frank, his son was killed while conducting a humanitarian food drop when his team encountered enemy small arms fire, and at least one of the attackers might have been dressed as an Iraqi soldier.

The same attack killed Master Sgt. Anthony Davis, a Triangle resident who was buried at Arlington National Cemetery last month.

In the statement issued shortly after the Marine's death, Frank's father described him as a son, brother, "devoted husband and an enthusiastic father."

The younger Frank was a Cincinnati native raised in Anderson Township, just north of the Ohio River to the east of downtown Cincinnati. In 2004, he graduated from the Citadel, the military college in South Carolina, where he majored in political science; as an upperclassman he was a supply sergeant and then a company commander, according to the school.

Yesterday, hundreds of Frank's relatives and friends emerged from a parade of dozens of cars stretched back along York Drive at Arlington National Cemetery. Huddled in coats, scarves and gloves against a cold breeze, the mourners followed a horse-drawn caisson carrying Frank's wooden coffin to Section 60 of the cemetery.

More than a dozen wreaths and floral arrangements were set up for display behind the grave, the green leaves festooned with red, white and blue. After a chaplain spoke, the family stood and looked toward seven riflemen firing off three shots apiece; the gathered mourners turned and faced the bright sun before it was again obscured by a cloud. The shells from those shots were presented to family members later in the service.

Frank's wife, Allison Frank, received a folded flag. His father and his mother, Rebecca Frank, each received a flag as well.

Frank had two young daughters, Sophia Lynn and Isabelle Grace. Sophia sat in the front row during the service, idly playing with one of the red roses that had been laid on the seats for the family members.

According to his father's statement, Frank had already served two tours in Iraq as a rifle platoon leader and was in the midst of his third when he was killed.

"Our son wanted nothing more than to make a difference in our world," the statement said. "He was not a movie version soldier, but a man who looked forward to loving his children, retiring from the service of his Country, teaching history at a high school and coaching track.

"Our deep sorrow is not in the life we had with him, but in the loss of the life we always thought we would share," he said.

Frank was assigned to the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan. He was the 452nd service member killed in Iraq to be honored at Arlington.

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