Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II died in Iraq on November 19, 2005 during combat operations while serving in the United States Army. Born December 23, 1981, Dennis’ greatest loves were God, his family, country, friends, swimming and the United States Army.
Known for his wonderful smile and willingness to help, Dennis grew up in Middletown, New Jersey, where he was a member of the Middletown Reformed Church and attended Middletown Village School, Thorne Middle School and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft. Dennis was a swimmer with the Red Bank YMCA for many years and continued to swim at Christian Brothers Academy.
Dennis earned a nomination to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 2004, having been elected Captain of the men’s swim team as a “Firstie”. While a student at West Point, Dennis was awarded the Class of 1923 Memorial Award for Outstanding Member of Men’s Team and the Capt. Michael W. Kilroy Memorial Award for the Captain of the Men’s Swim Team. He also completed the US Army’s Airborne School.
After being commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, Dennis was accepted into Ranger School and graduated in March of 2005. He deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division on September 17, 2005. At the time of his death, Dennis was engaged to Lt. Marie Cicerelle, who was also stationed with the 101st Airborne Division.
Dennis truly lived by West Point’s motto of DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY and stood behind the nation’s mission 100%, ready to serve and protect freedom. He also lived by the Army values of LOYALTY, DUTY, RESPECT, SELFLESS-SERVICE, HONOR, INTEGRITY, PERSONAL COURAGE.
Lt. Zilinski’s medals include: Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Global War on Terror, Iraq Campaign Service Medal and the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal.
Dennis is survived by his parents, Dennis and Marion Zilinski, his two brothers Douglas Kenner and Ptl. Matthew J. Zilinski of the Howell Twp. Police Department, Matt is also a 1LT. in the New Jersey Army National Guard, where he serves as the Company Commander of the 508th Military Police Combat Support Company, Teaneck, NJ, his two sisters, Michele Vaughn and Tiffany Shiver and his grandmother, Anna Zilinski.
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