Theodore's World: Ilario Pantano ~ Republican for Congress - NC-7

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August 13, 2010

Ilario Pantano ~ Republican for Congress - NC-7

Change of Service


‘I once scraped paint off the floor of this ship,” says Ilario Pantano. He stands inside a cavernous hangar within the USS Intrepid, the decommissioned aircraft carrier that sits in the Hudson River as a floating museum. The floor and walls that he knows so well are covered in a dull industrial gray. But on June 21, Pantano also finds himself surrounded by the red, white, and blue décor of a campaign fundraiser sponsored by Iraq Veterans for Congress, a political-action committee. Pantano, a Republican who fought in Fallujah, is a beneficiary: He’s running for the House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 7th district.

Today, Pantano is one of the GOP’s great hopes for wresting control of the House away from the Democrats. North Carolina’s 7th district, which includes Wilmington and its environs, prefers Republican presidential candidates.

In 2004, Pantano was fighting insurgents in Iraq. Near the town of Mahmudiyah, he shot two men. One of the soldiers in the platoon, possibly disgruntled because Pantano had demoted him, accused his superior officer of murder. The case drew national attention, and Pantano suffered through an agonizing year of accusation and investigation. But all of the charges against him eventually were dropped.

Pantano received his second honorable discharge from the Marines and wrote Warlord, a book about his experiences. Last year, living in North Carolina — his family had settled there because of Camp Lejeune — Pantano became upset when Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a special prosecutor to investigate CIA operatives.

“That was the tipping point for me,” he says. He started to think seriously about running for Congress. On May 4, he became the 7th district’s GOP nominee.


If North Carolina’s Pantano wins in November, he will owe his victory in large measure to his identity as a Marine. Pantano’s story is simply remarkable. After attending an expensive New York prep school on scholarship, he astonished his teachers and classmates by deciding to enlist in the Marines rather than go to college. He went to sniper school and took part in the first Gulf War. At the end of his four years in 1993, he enrolled at New York University. After graduation, Pantano took a job at Goldman Sachs and later started his own consulting business. His future looked bright. On the morning of 9/11, however, Pantano was on the streets of Manhattan when the terrorists struck. “I saw the Towers burn,” he says. “I knew we were at war.” Hours later, he went to a barbershop and ordered a “high and tight” — i.e., a military buzz cut. Then, at the age of 30, he rejoined the Marines. This time he went to officer school and received a commission as a second lieutenant.

Fellow American,

It's time to kick the liberals out of Washington and get America back on track.

My name is Ilario Pantano, and I'm a constitutional conservative, combat veteran of 2 wars, and small businessman. I'm running for Congress because I will not sit by idly while the far left destroy the country I was willing to die for.

When you hear my name, you probably have no idea who I am, but my story may be a familiar one. Like so many other patriotic Americans, on September 12, 2001, I went to reenlist with the U.S. Marine Corps, graduated from Officer Candidate School and deployed to Iraq for my second tour of duty.

You remember the chaos and violence of the Iraq war in 2004 when American bodies were strung up from a bridge in Fallujah. Well, I was leading a combat operation in the area when I had to kill two terrorists that tried to attack me. I was praised by my commanders and never second guessed my actions. I continued to lead my platoon and never lost a man. But three months later I learned that a man in my platoon whom I had demoted falsely reported the incident. I was accused of premeditated murder and faced a death sentence if found guilty.

After a thorough investigation the truth prevailed and I was cleared of all charges. The truth has not mattered to many on the left though. Liberal blogs have continually attacked my constitutional conservative campaign and me. They have even called me a "Jack Bauer Republican."

I left the Marine Corps soon after returning home because of death threats my family received from jihadists because of my service. But I am far from finished serving my country, and that's why I'm asking for your support today. The Congressional seat I'm challenging is held by a 7-term incumbent who votes with Nancy Pelosi 90% of the time. Back in January, it was considered "Safe Democratic" but now this seat is competitive.

As a Marine Corp officer, I never took men into battle without a winning strategy, and this race is no different. I know I can win, and I have every intention of doing so. But I have no delusions that this fight will be easy, and that's why I'm turning to grassroots conservatives like you.

I've been attacked by liberals and left-wing blogs from across the United States but I have also had the support of conservative bloggers at, National Review, Wizbang Blog and the military bloggers at Blackfive. My campaign needs the resources to fight back and make sure every voter in the district knows who I am, what I stand for and the truth about my opponent's record.

Change happens from the bottom up, so it's time for you and me to take action and restore our conservative values by electing a new set of leaders with fresh ideas about how to return this country to prosperity and our conservative values.

Semper Fi,

Ilario Pantano
Republican for Congress - NC-7

His website

Here is his page at Facebook.....Pantano for Congress


Wild Thing's comment........

I first heard about him back when he was going through his court battle. His mom had a website about it and thousnads of us joined it to show support. His book is excellent and they also did his story in Soldier of Fortune. They should make a movie of his life.

These types of heroes will lead from the front!

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at August 13, 2010 06:50 AM


I like that title constitutional conservative. Here's hoping Pantano wins in November by a big majority.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at August 13, 2010 10:04 AM

So many good Conservative men and women running for Congress; there is hope. I like that many of them have a military background.

Posted by: BobF at August 13, 2010 10:26 AM

Yeah they've seen both sides and now send them to Washington to fight another communist agitator.

Posted by: Mark at August 13, 2010 04:21 PM

Best of luck Mr. Pantano!

Posted by: Jim at August 13, 2010 04:22 PM

Tom, thanks for pointing that out. I like that too..... " constitutional conservative."

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 14, 2010 01:13 AM

BobF., I do too, I don't remember a time when there were so many that had served and recently that were entering politics like we see today.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 14, 2010 01:16 AM

Mark, well put and ditto that!

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 14, 2010 01:20 AM

Jim, Amen to that!!!

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 14, 2010 01:20 AM