Maryland Marine, father, killed in Afghanistan

By Martin Weil
Tuesday, March 22, 2011; 2:13 AM

Jimmy Malachowski grew up in Maryland and married his high school sweetheart. They had two children, and another was on the way, a relative said.

Malachowski, 25, of Westminster in Carroll County, was also a Marine who had served twice in Iraq, and was overseas again, this time in Afghanistan.

People called him Jimmy but he had another title: Staff Sgt. James M. Malachowski. He died Sunday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, the Pentagon said Monday.

"He loved the Marine Corps," said Robert Williams, of Finksburg, Md. "He was a Marine in and out."

Malachowski married Williams' granddaughter, Lindsay, shortly after graduating from North Carroll High School in 2004, Williams said.

He made another commitment while still in school, according to Williams. Even before graduation, he went to a nearby Marine recruiting station to enlist.

"He wanted to be a Marine so bad," Williams said.

Even among Marines, Malachowski stood out. He had been an instructor in marksmanship and martial arts at the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, according to an article by Donna Engle that appeared in a Carroll County magazine.

The article, posted on the Web site, reported that Malachowski's mother, Alison, had also served in the Marines. She had enlisted in 1976, and also rose to sergeant before completing her service in 1980 and marrying James Malachowski.

His sister, Brandy, who became an Army lieutenant, served in Iraq. At the ceremony when her officer's insignia was pinned on, her brother was the first member of the military to salute her, Robert Williams said.

The brother and sister were fitness enthusiasts. Both ran last October in the Army 10-mile foot race. On leave at the family home , he would run to the Pennsylvania border and back. He also was an avid weight lifter.

According to Engle's report, the parents marked holidays by not celebrating while their children were deployed.

Once, according to Engle's account, Sgt. Malachowski assured his parents that his unit expected to be in quarters for Christmas and his mother said to his father, "Isn't this nice? We know Jimmy's safe."

It turned out that he had spent the night before Christmas in a ditch in Iraq, keeping warm by wearing, among other things, the Baltimore Ravens balaclava she had sent.

He liked the outdoors, and showed it in a variety of ways. When he was 9, he exhibited his insect collection at a local nature center. Kelli Holoski, who volunteered at the center, remembered the exhibit from 1995. It impressed people, she said, "that at such a young age that he had collected and displayed it so professionally."

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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