Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Marine, 26, dies in Afghanistan

Marine Cpl. Jonathan D. Porto and his wife, Rachel, were expecting a baby when he was deployed to Afghanistan in December.

Ariana Ralyn Porto was born two months ago, but Porto, 26, of St. Petersburg never got to meet her.

He was killed in an accident Sunday in Helmand province, Defense Department officials said.

They declined to provide details on the accident, citing privacy rules, but his uncle said family members were told that he died when his vehicle flipped and he was pinned in the wreckage.

His body arrived Tuesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

"It's a tragedy all the way around," said his uncle, Craig Gregoire.

Porto joined the Marines in March 2008 and was promoted to corporal Dec. 1, said Lt. Timothy Irish. He had received several awards for his service.

He was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as a small-arms repair technician for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan.

Porto is survived by his wife, who is 23, and their 2-month-old daughter. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His mother, Rachel Bernaby, and stepfather, Brian, were not at their St. Petersburg home on 46th Avenue N Tuesday afternoon.

An American flag and a red Marine Corps flag were at half-staff outside their front door.

Porto was born in St. Petersburg and has seven brothers and sisters, said Gregoire.

Porto graduated from Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, N.H., in 2002, according to associate principal John Leary. He remembered Porto as a hands-on learner who was a good kid.

Finding out Porto ended up with the Marine Corps "did not surprise me," he said.

Gregoire of Hendersonville, N.C., said he thought his nephew "found a sense of purpose" in the Marine Corps.

"Whenever I saw him at a family gathering, he gave hugs freely, smiled widely and often, and pretty much made me feel cheerful and welcomed," said Porto's aunt, Renae Gregoire.

Staff writers Kim Wilmath and Kameel Stanley and researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

St. Petersburg Marine, 26, dies in Afghanistan 03/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why are so few Tampa Bay houses for sale? They're being rented

    Real Estate

    Oreste Mesa Jr. owns a modest 40-year-old house in West Tampa just off MacDill Avenue. It's an area where many homeowners are hearing the siren song of builders and cashing out while the market is strong.

    Attorney David Eaton poses in front of his rental home at 899 72nd Ave. North. in St. Petersburg. He's among a growing number of property owners who see more value in renting out unused homes than selling them. 
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. In a word, Hernando school leaders say, first day was 'smooth'


    Over and over on Monday, school district leaders used the same word to describe the unfolding of the first day of school in Hernando County.


    Third-graders Teagan Ferguson, left, and Brianna DeLaine deliver attendance figures to the office at J.D. Floyd Elementary School on Monday. Superintendent Lori Romano and other district administrators toured a handful of schools and classrooms throughout the day,
  3. Looking Back: Diana, America's Favorite Princess


    The Washington Post, in her obituary, called her "the most photographed woman in the world." She was loved in England for saying, after her divorce from Prince Charles, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." Americans loved her for her work with charitable causes supporting victims of AIDS and landmines. Aug. 31 …

    Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day.

(AP Photo)
  4. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays


    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  5. Unborn baby dies, two critically injured in Largo crash


    LARGO — Two people were critically injured and an unborn baby was killed in a crash that shut down an intersection on Ulmerton Road late Wednesday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.