Lt. J.G. Darin Howard Pontell

Lt. J.G. Darin  Howard  Pontell

Darin Pontell decided in 1989, at age 14, that he would enlist in the Navy. His older brother, Steven, a Navy pilot, was killed that year in a crash on the USS Lexington off Pensacola, Fla.

"When that happened, Darin mentioned that he'd like to pick up where his brother Steven left off, to complete the circle," his father, Gary Pontell, said.

Darin Pontell, a native of Arlington Heights who moved with his family to Baltimore in 1985, graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy. His job in Navy intelligence took him to some of the most dangerous regions of the world.

Lt. j.g. Pontell married Devora Volk, a lawyer, in March. He began working at the Pentagon in April and celebrated his 26th birthday last month. He lived in Gaithersburg, Md.

"When he returned to the Pentagon, we felt he was so safe," his father said. "Who would have thought of the Pentagon as a target?"

Gary Pontell is left with one son, Michael, 33.

"Darin and his brother Mike were my best friends," Gary Pontell said. "And being that both of them were such family people, we always spent a lot of time together. That's what I'm going to miss. The Sunday afternoons and Sunday evenings. I'm going to miss the phone calls."

Darin Pontell will be buried next to his brother in the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Cemetery.

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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