A 25-year-old Marine from Westminster who was killed Sunday in Afghanistan was a highly decorated warrior who had previously served three deployments in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. James M. Malachowski, who died in combat in Helmand province, had been awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, two Marine Corps Good Conduct medals, a National Defense Service Medal, two Iraq Campaign medals, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
His deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom extended from March 2004 to October 2004, from July 2005 to February 2006 and from January 2007 to July 2007. Two months ago, he was dispatched to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom, the term used by the U.S. government for the war in Afghanistan.
He was a machine gun section leader with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to a statement from Staff Sgt. Jayson Price, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division.
Malachowski joined the Marine Corps in June 2003 and was promoted to staff sergeant in April 2010. He is survived by his wife and two children.
According to a 2009 article in Carroll magazine, Malachowski was previously an instructor in marksmanship and martial arts at Parris Island. According to the magazine, he enlisted at age 17 and served tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.
Malachowski's mother, Alison Malachowski, is a retired Marine, and a sister, Brandy Malachowski, served in Iraq as an Army lieutenant, according to a 2008 article in The Baltimore Sun.