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Hundreds pay final respects to NJ Marine who died in Iraq


by Allison Steele
Saturday September 22, 2007,  3:33 PM

Pall bearers carry the casket out of the church after the funeral today for Marine Cpl. Terrence Allen of Pennsauken.

Hundreds of mourners paid their final respects today to Marine Cpl. Terrence Allen, filling a church in his hometown of Pennsauken to say good-bye to the 21-year-old who was supposed to have returned home from Iraq this week.

Family and friends filed slowly into St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, yards from the elementary school Allen attended as a child. Tattooed bikers lined the walkway to the church, their heads lowered, holding American flags beneath a heavy rain.


Allen, who died in Iraq a week ago under what military officials describe as "non-hostile" circumstances, was laid at the head of the church, dressed in full uniform, his white-gloved hands crossed atop his body, his high school football jersey tucked beside him. His parents, John and Connie Allen, embraced well-wishers. His wife, Katie, stood by their side, wearing the dog tags that belonged to her husband of less than a year.

The Rev. Anthony Manuppella, pastor at St. Peter's, spoke of Allen as a loyal friend with a good sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He indicated that Allen had become more involved with Catholicism in recent years.

"The bitterness and sadness of death stings us," Manuppella said.

Military officials have not yet completed their inquest into Allen's death. The military classification of "non-hostile" death covers illness, suicide, vehicle crashes or accidental weapons discharges.

John Allen(holding flag), father of slain Marine Terrence Allen of Pennsauken, is hugged by a friend after burial service at Fairview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson.

Allen was finishing his second combat tour in Iraq and preparing to return to the United States when he died. His father said Allen had re-enlisted and was expecting a promotion to sergeant.

Earlier today, the Department of Defense announced that another New Jerseyan, Army Pfc. Luigi Marciante Jr. of Elizabeth, had been killed in Iraq.

Marciante, 25, died Thursday in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.