PFC Michael Giannattasio
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.
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
“……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
– 1st Sergeant Anthony Lappe
-Lieutenant Colonel David W. Handy
Commanding Officer, Advanced Training Battalion
-PFC Zachary Poster
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
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.”
God bless you, PFC Michael P. Giannattasio; thank you for your service and thank you to all those who have served!