Marine Sgt. Frank J. World
Died April 01, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
25, of Buffalo, N.Y.; assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 1 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(The following was taken from www.buffalonews.com of Apr. 4, 2010) The 2-month-old daughter of Marine Sgt. Frank J.A. World was born on Jan. 6 — barely two weeks after he deployed to Afghanistan.
When Lilly is old enough, her mother, Beth, plans to tell her that it was her father who came up with her nickname, "Lilly-Bear," while he was in Afghanistan, where he was killed Thursday by an improvised explosive device.
"I never got the chance to ask him how he came up with the name. I just said, "Oh, that's so cute.' The last time we spoke on St. Patrick's Day, he told me that when he came home, he was going to give Lilly a big kiss and that he already had a nickname for her, Lilly-Bear," said Beth World, 24, who says her 25-year-old husband died doing what he loved — serving his country as a Marine.
World, a Riverside resident who was raised on the West Side, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2003 after graduating from Riverside Institute of Technology.
From early boyhood, he seemed destined to become a Marine, according to his mother, Susan World-Missana.
"His father was a Marine, his uncle was a Marine, and he just had it in his head since he was little that when he grew up, he was going to go into the Marines," said World-Missana, who noted her son also was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2008.
While he had not been physically wounded in Iraq, his wife said, the war had left him mentally scarred.
"He didn't like to talk about it, but when he did, I basically listened to whatever he had to get off his chest. I know he had post-traumatic stress. He said he would have nightmares of being out there, what they had to do to survive," Beth World said.
Despite that, she and other family members said he displayed no hesitation or lack of enthusiasm when it came to fulfilling his military missions.
On his final mission Thursday morning, World was traveling in a light armored vehicle in Marjah, the site of a major offensive more than a month ago by Marines seeking to wrench the region from Taliban control.
"We were informed by a couple of Marine Corps officers during the dinner hour Thursday that during a combat mission in Marjah his light armored vehicle was hit with an IED," said Larry World, his older brother and a Buffalo firefighter, who added that it was not disclosed whether other Marines were harmed in the attack.
A member of LAR Alpha Company, 2nd Marine Division, the sergeant served as an infantryman on all three of his deployments and was in the sixth year of an eight-year commitment to the Corps.
When he returned home from his first eight-month tour in Iraq, he met his wife to be, the former Beth Zielinski of South Buffalo, at a party and, she said, they immediately knew they were meant for each other.
By 2006, they married and had their first child, Jacob, 3. They lived in base housing at Camp Lejeune, N.C., but decided that she and Jacob should return home to Buffalo to be close to family with the impending birth of their second child while he was in Afghanistan.
And even though he was thousands of miles away from the daughter he would never meet, Beth World said she made it her business to introduce their baby girl to her father every single day.
One of the most recent photographs of her and her husband hangs in the living room of her South Buffalo apartment.
"It's a big picture of Frank and me from when I was eight months pregnant and we went to the Marine Corps ball. He was wearing his dress blues and I had a beautiful blue dress on. Every day I walk up to it with Lilly and she stares at it.
"It's really strange, but I think she knows that's her daddy. There are other pictures in the house, but that's the only one she stares at," Beth World said.
She says she can feel her husband's spirit protecting her and the children.
Her brother-in-law says he, too, is certain of that.
"My brother was solid in his faith and firm in his beliefs, so there is no doubt that he is our angel up above watching down on us," Larry World said.
For now, though, Beth World is left with the memory of her final phone call with her husband on March 17.
"We talked about how he couldn't wait to come home and meet his daughter," she said.
Today, she and other family members will fly to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to escort Sgt. World's remains back to Buffalo.
But Beth World says she knows that she will again see her beloved husband, beyond mortal bounds.
And that the reunion will be a happy one.
And when it comes, she says she plans to ask him how he came up with the nickname "Lilly- Bear."