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Captain Kyle R. Van De Giesen
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award

They say at least 90% of success derives from having a dream and knowing what you want. Kyle Van De Giesen’s dream was to become a United States Marine Corps helicopter pilot. During high school, Kyle began to demonstrate the commitment and leadership required of a US Marine, and at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, he continued to exude the qualities necessary to excel in the military. Eventually, Kyle’s determination and focus paid off in the form of a highly decorated, but all too brief, career in the United States Marines.

As a talented student-athlete at North Attleboro High School, Kyle established himself as a natural-born leader while quarterbacking his team to a Super Bowl victory in his senior year. He was recognized as the Hockomock League offensive MVP, and he was selected to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald All Scholastic teams as well as the Sun Chronicle All Star team. Kyle also participated in the Children's Hospital Classic and again was awarded the title of MVP. He was well on his way to achieving his dream.

Kyle earned his BA in Criminal Justice at St. Anselm in 2002. In addition to his commitments during the academic year, Kyle completed Officer's Candidate School in Quantico, Va., during the summers of 1999 and 2000, and was commissioned as second lieutenant in the United State Marine Corps in 2002. To demonstrate his pride in his hometown, Kyle chose to have his commissioning ceremony at the Joseph W. Martin Elementary School where he had attended grammar school. Upon completion of the Officer Basic Course in Quantico and Flight School in Pensacola, Fla., Kyle graduated in 2004 with his Aviator wings and orders to train as an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot. He was assigned to HMLA-169 at Camp Pendleton, California, and was deployed twice to Iraq and then to Afghanistan.

While in the Marine Corps, Kyle earned several awards, commendations and medals. For his service, Kyle was awarded an individual action Air Medal with combat "V" for valor and the Air Medal Strike/Flight XII. He received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two bronze stars, and the NATO International Security Assistance Forces - Afghanistan (ISAF) Medal. Perhaps one of Kyle’s biggest accomplishments was when he wad-selected to be a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics School Squadron One (MAWTS-1) instructor, the Marine Corps' center for aviation excellence and tactical instruction.

Tragically, Kyle was killed in Afghanistan on October 26, 2009; however, his legacy lives on in a variety of ways. Fellow Marines were more than proud to serve with him. Marine Lt. Col. Thomas Dolan, described Kyle as the "type of guy who was bigger than life. He did so much in his short life and made a bigger impact as a young man than most people do in 90 yrs. He was integral in every aspect of our mission, and when we had to do something difficult he was always the guy you turned to." During a candlelight vigil held for Kyle in the weeks following his death, former teacher and coach, Paul Sullivan, said: "Our children need role models; for it’s not enough that they be told what to do, they must be shown how. This will be forever Kyle’s legacy to the children of North Attleboro."

All of our Martin Award recipients have achieved distinction at the highest levels of their personal, professional or civic endeavors. Kyle Van De Giesen becomes the youngest alumnus to earn this recognition. Personally, he was a cherished son, brother, husband, father and friend. Professionally, he served his country with honor as a highly decorated United States Marine. Civically, he embodied the spirit of "pride and tradition" that is so highly valued in our town.

It is with great pride and honor that the North Attleboro High School Alumni Association presents this posthumous award to Capt. Kyle R. Van De Giesen.