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Saturday, September 23, 2017
Mystery Marine Mario Kletzke Remembered After Suicide
Stafford County's Mystery Marine is being honored one year after his death
Fredericksburg Free Lance Star
September 22, 2017
Christian Dimaglba holds US Marine flag during Marine Cpl. Mario Kletzke's funeral procession,
Peter Cihelka The Free Lance Star
Hundreds lined State Route 610 in Stafford County—at the busy intersection of Shelton Shop Road, in front of Sittin’ Pretty Pet Salon and Fatty’s Crab House and a bank and a car dealership. They were Marines and soldiers, wives and widows of veterans who’d fished out their service flags and American flags. They were babies in strollers and high school athletes and members of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in crisp uniforms.
This is where they’d seen him—those who’d seen him at all—the Mystery Marine in service-issued silkies running with a POW flag on the Fourth of July.
His name was Mario Kletzke.
He died Sept. 24 at his home in Stafford, of suicide. He was 23.
His final route would be part of the one he’d run, only this time there was a police escort and a hearse and all those people standing under a gray sky before lunchtime on Thursday.
His Marine Corps record told this much of his story: Kletzke enlisted right out of high school in 2012. He’d been a rifleman and spent nearly eight months in Afghanistan. He’d last served with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, in Camp Lejeune, N.C. When he was discharged as a corporal at the end of June after fulfilling a four-year commitment, his awards included a combat action ribbon, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a National Defense Service Medal.