Army Staff Sgt. Bertolino was assigned to Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Troop, Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Carson, Colorado. Bertolino was killed while traveling in a convoy when his vehicle was hit by enemy fire in Haditha. His platoon was in charge of performing maintenance on helicopters and the equipment used by helicopter pilots and personnel. Stephen graduated from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon. He always wanted to join the military to continue his family's tradition. Even though he didn't like to be separated from his family, he considered it an honor and his duty to serve. During his assignment to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, he put himself through the sheriff's academy training and volunteered as a Chatham County reserve deputy sheriff. He was deployed to Iraq in March, only days after burying his mother who died of cancer. His fellow soldiers remember him as a good and kind person who would do anything to help others. While in Iraq, there were other platoons that didn't have hot water, but Stephen made sure his men did. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was an imposing figure with a bone-crushing handshake, but he had a soft spot for the underdog. He used to play flag football every Thanksgiving with his sons and some other kids from his church. Stephen didn't have the greatest arm, but he would make sure he played quarterback so he could be sure the ball was thrown to the smallest and weakest of players. At his funeral, he was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and four children.
- Maintained by: Renae
- Originally Created by: Brenda N
- Added: 29 Sep 2006
- Find a Grave Memorial 15928271
- Sponsored by Laura Virgil
Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15928271/stephen-anthony-bertolino : accessed ), memorial page for SSGT Stephen Anthony “Tony” Bertolino Sr. (3 Jul 1963–29 Nov 2003), Find a Grave Memorial ID 15928271, citing Oak Hill Memorial Park, Escondido, San Diego County, California, USA ; Maintained by Renae (contributor 46985364) .