Marine raised in Lewisburg killed in Iraq

Friday, March 30, 2007
Photo courtesy of Elaine Huffines Marcus (Marc) Andrew Golczynski, 30, a U.S. Marine Reservist, as seen at an observation post in Iraq during his first tour of duty. He was killed during small arms fire Tuesday while serving a second tour in Iraq.

A welcome home party was being planned for a U.S. Marine's return from Iraq next month, but now funeral arrangements are pending for the man who grew up in Lewisburg and returned to the war-torn country so he could protect young Marines.

Sgt. Marcus (Marc) Andrew Golczynski, 30, "was killed as a result of a gunshot wound to his abdomen" while on foot patrol in the Al Anbar Province during the late afternoon on Tuesday, Iraqi time, Marine Lt. Col. Melinda Hermann said on Wednesday.

Golczynski, son of Elaine Huffines of Motlow College Road, and Henry Golczynski, owner of Franklin's Printworks in Murfreesboro, had been a Marine Reservist on his second tour of active duty.

Photo courtesy of Jill Golczynski Marine Sgt. Marc Golczynski poses with his mother, Elaine Huffines, at her home just south of Bedford County in Moore County last summer during a goodbye party.

"He was very devoted to his young Marines and ... he volunteered to go a second time," Elaine Huffines said at her home Wednesday afternoon. "He felt the job was not done. He ... went the second time to protect the young Marines."

Sgt. Golczynski's step-father, Bob Huffines, said Marc "was to be due back in two weeks" from Iraq.

Sister-in-law Jill Golczynski said, "His welcome home party was planned for the 28th of April at our house at Nashville in West Meade...

"He put everybody first," Jill Golczynski said of her brother-in-law. "I know he treated his Marines like family and that's why he's no longer with us... We're very proud of him."

John Weatherspoon, production manager at Franklin's PrintWorks, was described by a co-worker as Sgt. Golczynski's best friend at work, and Weatherspoon said his lost friend "was a born soldier. He lived to serve."

Marc Golczynski graduated from Marshall County High School in May of 1995. His family remembers him as having been recognized as the sixth best wrestler in the state during his senior year under the direction of Coach Louis Schenchenzuber who's since become an administrator.

Marc Golczynski played the trombone and the marching baritone for the MCHS Marching Band. He was also active in community theater at Lewisburg, having appeared in a production of "The Wizard of Oz."

Elaine and Henry Golczynski moved to Lewisburg when Marc was three. Born in Milledgeville, Ga., Marc celebrated his 30th birthday two weeks ago on March 16. His brother, Jon, is six years older.

"Even in Iraq, he called everybody for their birthday," Jon said. "Mine was Monday. He called me Sunday because he was going to be out of pocket on Monday."

Weatherspoon said he and Marc "talked about spiritual things" during their last telephone conversation.

"Just this last Friday, he was excited about coming home in the next couple of weeks," Weatherspoon said. "We joked about hugging. It was bitter sweet for him because he knew he'd be leaving some of his brothers over there."

Before leaving for Iraq last July, Sgt. Golczynski was a Murfreesboro resident, according to Angela Phillips, customer service representative for Franklin's Printworks who knew Marc about two years. He worked there almost three years as a sales representative, and while he was the owner's son, "It was not a free ride... and he was a great co-worker."

Marc "had a lot of friends... was funny and his customers seemed to really like him," Phillips said. "He had an apartment. His military service was a reason he wasn't tied down to a house because he knew he could be recalled."

Lt. Col. Herrmann said, Sgt. Golczynski was "an outstanding leader of Marines." Because of that, "he had previously been selected" for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant and he was posthumously promoted to that rank.

While Golczynski and his wife, Heather, are divorced, they remained close, according to Jill Golczynski. Heather is raising the couple's 8-year-old son, Christian, at her home in Crofton, Md., near Baltimore.

"Marc was a very active dad," Jill Golczynski said. "So, whatever Christian was into, he was too."

Heather and Marc were co-workers at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant shortly after it opened in Tullahoma, according to the Marine's step-father. The restaurant chain transferred him to Louisville, Ky., for more experience and he was a manager who returned to work in Middle Tennessee locations of Ruby Tuesday.

Barb Blackmore, a pharmacy technician at H&S Pharmacy No. 2, is a volunteer with Moms on a Mission, a Marshall County organization that keeps track of military servicemen and women from their community.

At least two other military servicemen from Marshall County have perished in the war on terror since 911. Blackmore names them as David Hierholzer of the Belfast Community who died in Afghanistan during July 2006, and Todd Nunes of Chapel Hill who died in Iraq during 2002.

Sgt. Golczynski stayed with his mother and step-father in Moore County while working a second time at Ruby Tuesday in Tullahoma, however, Lewisburg is recognized as his home town and Weatherspoon said he believed his friend would probably be buried in Lewisburg.

Nevertheless, Morrisa Gilbert, a close friend of the family, said yesterday that Marc's parents were meeting with the Marines in Murfreesboro mid-day and no funeral arrangements had been made.

Herrmann said, "At the time of his death, Sgt. Golczynski was serving as a squad leader with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment...

"Prior to his deployment to Iraq, he was assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment," she said. "His passing will be deeply felt by all of the Marines and Sailors within 1st Battalion, and most especially by those who knew him well in Bravo Co."

Golczynski joined the Marines after high school. He continued as a Marine Reservist following his first tour of duty. When he realized his unit was going to Iraq, he decided to return to active service. During his first tour in Iraq, he served at Camp Fallujah.