PFC Michael Giannattasio

Our Mission

Join us in memory of Michael, to contribute to the dual causes of education and special needs.

Michael was a true leader; he gave his all and then motivated others to do the same.  He not only raised the bar for the Marines, but for us as well.  After witnessing his generous and charitable spirit, we are driven to become better because of him.  Our goal with the IronMike Foundation is to honor our son and heal by helping others.  He was always a force for the good, keeping everyone around him positive and motivated.  This is why our family and friends are asking you to join us in memory of Michael, to contribute to the dual causes of education and special needs. Every quarter, we will donate charitable funds to education, special needs programs, and to those in need. However, many of those in need go unnoticed.

Michael is a witness to the benefits of the formation provided in a private education; this foundation can provide others that same opportunity.  In addition, Michael had a great tenderness in his heart for his younger brother, Louis, who is severely cognitively impaired.  Through the IronMike Foundation, Michael can help others, like his brother, get special therapies unique to their special needs.   We need to follow Michael’s lead and continue his service.  Michael was willing to die for his country, to save and serve others.  Please join us in honoring his legacy.  Help us help Michael to continue to ”serve”.

I’ve read recently, the true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them.

Please help take care of us by helping us take care of others in Michael’s honor.

Consider using IronMike Foundation as an opportunity to show your gratitude for our fallen heroes.

 Oorah!  Semper fi!

Jane Giannattasio, Michael’s Mom

IronMike 5K Run/Walk

August 10, 2019

Located at the beautiful Stony Creek Metropark. Race event shirt, finisher medal, and after race food provided!  

Click Here to Sign Up!

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to contribute to the dual causes of education and special needs
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“……If I had to describe the kind of man Mike was, it would be with the line in the RECON Creed,  “Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a RECON Marine, honor, perseverance, spirit and heart. “  Mike embodied these four traits, even before knowing the creed.  Mike always told the truth and called people out for doing otherwise.  Through the many strenuous exercises throughout the course, he gave 100%,  no matter how tired, sore, and broken he was…..and trust me, we were all three multiple times.  Spirit and heart……..well that’s easy to have seen from him.  He kept everyone positive and motivated.  When we heard of his passing, we knew we weren’t doing it for ourselves anymore.  We were doing it for him!”

-PFC Zachary Poster, Mike’s roommate

“Whatever Michael did, he owned it.”

– 1st Sergeant Anthony Lappe

“Only met you a couple of times. What a gentleman and a fine human being. Thank you for serving. My heart goes out to your family, as I have lost a son myself.”


“PFC Giannattasio was an outstanding Marine who stepped up to the difficult challenge of earning a spot amongst our distinguished reconnaissance forces.  Though he will be deeply missed, he will always remain in our ranks. Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

-TECOM statement

“If you want something done right, ask a Marine, if you want it done right the first time though, get with Giannattasio”
-BRPC Instructor
“Giannattasio, it’s ok to make them look bad, not us.”
-BRPC Instructor
“Michael Giannattasio touched the hearts and minds of the 60 plus RECON training students.  He set a high bar for the hearts and minds of instructors and people like me to see what a RECON student is really capable of.”
“Michael, PFC, still in training had positively affected so many.  Many people never positively affect so many others in the course of their life long career.”
“Michael Giannattasio……… I salute you.”
“Thank you for joining our ranks, thank you for moving the bar higher which makes us all better as we strive to meet your standard.”

-Lieutenant Colonel David W. Handy
Commanding Officer,  Advanced Training Battalion

“I am sad for the loss of a marine.  I’ve never seen more potential in a marine, perhaps in my entire career.”
“…..I knew Mike for only 9 months and some of the marines here only knew him for a couple weeks.  When we heard the news about Mike, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  That should tell you something about the kind of guy he was. ”

-PFC Zachary Poster

About Michael

Our son, PFC Michael Giannattasio, at the age of twenty-two, suddenly died during basic Reconnaissance training on August 30, 2017. He had passed his swim tests at the top of his class, where many Marines drop, and on the third day, with one more land navigation point to accomplish, he suddenly collapsed. While Michael’s cause of death is still undetermined, we know that Mike was no ordinary man, no ordinary Marine. He was known throughout his life and especially in the Marines for giving his all.

Mike’s performance in the Marines was a reflection of how he had always pursued life, striving constantly to be the best, always pushing his limits. We can see it again with Michael’s ambition to attend a private boarding high school where he would be challenged physically, academically and spiritually. He met the challenge. Michael won two awards, “Devotion to Duty” award, and the “Hammer” award, given to the athlete that shows uncommon work ethic and desire for improvement”.  Cleary these were obvious traits that describes well a man who would ultimately give his life in service for his country.

While many words can be spoken about Michael, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Handy, speaks more dynamically about Michael’s character than we could ever articulate. He expressed his gratitude for Mike’s life in these compelling words:

Lieutenant Colonel David Handy's Eulogy
“PFC Michael Giannattasio is exactly the kind of great American that the Marine Corps salutes. He was intelligent, in fact he scored higher on his GT test than I could have even after four years of college. He was in exceptional shape, earning the “Iron Man” award for his boot training at his time at Parris Island, South Carolina. He was aggressive and athletic. He participated in cross country and was an All-State rugby player in his senior year at high school; he’s the kind of guy we want. He volunteered for the most demanding training pipeline the Marine Corps offers, to become a Reconnaissance Marine. And his vision focused on being the best Reconnaissance Marine he could be. He received top marks in all training units. He continued to achieve the highest scores on physical tests as he did in boot camp—he qualified as an expert marksman and passed water survival course with advanced qualification in the pool. He passed the basic reconnaissance power course with ease. He was a novel marine, a successful student, and a good friend to his fellow students in his fraternity class.

The weekend immediately following his death, we were attending a church service with several of his instructors and about forty of his fellow students. I was truly humbled and impressed at the effect that this entry level PFC, who not having even completed his MOS qualifications, had on such a large group of marines. Several of his close friends spoke of his infectious positive attitude and the example that he set, his aggressiveness to tackle any challenge and his superior physical condition. They also spoke about what he did to inspire students with encouragement and support that he offered all who were around. He is a little older than the average student in class, but he led the class from the front. So, his fellow students logged him as role model, a natural leader of the class. He not only captured the hearts and minds of the students but also the instructors.

One instructor during our service remembered Mike specifically from his written after course fatigue, in which he called out several support issues and examples of friction points during the course that should be corrected, calling out instructors by name. This particular instructor’s reaction was a big smile. He smiled because he saw this marine, a marine of his junior, already had personal gumption and testicle fortitude to call out a senior Reconnaissance Marine during his fatigue. And that was unique. The instructor’s reaction to this brazen young marine’s comments was that he was going to fit right in as a Reconnaissance Marine.

…I am sad, I am sad at the loss of a marine, with more potential than I have seen perhaps my entire career. I am sad for Michael’s family who lost a son and a brother, a loss that I can certainly appreciate as a father, but I truly can’t fathom. I am sad for his brothers in the Basic Reconnaissance Course 5-17 that lost their role model and friend. But what I do know, however, is that Michael Giannattasio touched the hearts and minds of sixty-plus reconnaissance students, and I know he lives on in their hearts. He is still standing on top of the shelf as the first one up, encouraging his fellow students to go on. He is at the bottom of the pool, he’s the first to complete a crossover, he’s setting the example for you now. He’s also set a high bar in the hearts and mind of the instructors, and people like myself who have seen what a reconnaissance student is truly capable of, and he has raised their standards as well. I have never known a private first class, still in training, who has positively affected so many. Many people [will never] positively affect so many others in the course of their lifelong career.

Michael Giannattasio, I salute you.
Thank you for joining our ranks.

Thank you for raising the bar higher which makes us all better as we strive to meet your standards. Thank you for your friendship, we will miss you. Never above you, never below you, always beside you. Semper fidelis.”

No more words need to be said except:
God bless you, PFC Michael P. Giannattasio; thank you for your service and thank you to all those who have served!




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