WALDWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Just two weeks before he was supposed to return home, a New Jersey Marine has been killed in Afghanistan.
Friends say Staff Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine, of Waldwick, grew up wanting to be a US Marine, and in the end, it was a dream that he died for.
“It’s a hell of a thing, you know, it hurts,” neighbor Anthony Scicchitano told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
Scicchitano watched from his house across the street as decorated military officers delivered the devastating news to D’Augustine’s mother on Tuesday, Brown reported.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports
“After they left I went across the street and said, ‘Patti, it can’t be’ and she said, ‘I lost my son,’” Scicchitano said.
D’Augustine, who graduated from Waldwick High School in 2001, was assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group stationed out of Camp Lejune.
The 29-year-old was a specialist trained to dismantle bombs and land mines.
“That’s what took Joey’s life; he was diffusing a bomb,” Scicchitano said. “Somebody’s gotta do the job and unfortunately Joey picked the wrong card.”
D’Augustine was on his fourth tour of duty overseas — his second in Afghanistan.
Family friend Adam Scicchitano says D’Augstine’s father was a police detective and being a Marine was his way of following in those footsteps.
“I think he had a passion for the military,” Scicchitano said. “He knew what he was doing and he loved what he was doing.”
D’Augustine was scheduled to return home in less than two weeks for his sister’s wedding.
“She spoke to him Monday night before she went to bed and this happened the day after,” Scicchitano said. “She would have loved him to be here; everybody would have loved him to be here.”
D’Augustine’s family has traveled from their home in Waldwick to Maryland to retrieve his body.
There is no word yet on funeral arrangements.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has offered his condolences to the family and said he is in the process of ordering flags lowered in honor of the fallen soldier.
Flags are already flying at half-staff along Franklin Turnpike and Prospect Street in Waldwick.
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