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Michael DeMarsico in Afghanistan, from a posting on his Facebook page.

North Adams Native Killed in Afghanistan

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Above, Laurie Douglas holds up a family picture of Michael DeMarsico and his little sister's teddy bear. Right, DeMarsico in Afghanistan.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Michael DeMarsico always wanted to be a soldier, and was prepared to be on the front line.

On Thursday, Aug. 16, the 20-year-old Drury High School graduate was in the lead when he was reportedly killed in a roadside bombing in Panjwa'l, Afghanistan.

His parents, Michael and Lisa Babcock DeMarsico of Bracewell Avenue, were informed of his death at about 1 a.m. on Friday by Army officials with the aid of local police.

"Michael was tragically killed in Afghanistan doing what he loved," said his aunt, Laurie Douglas, in an emotional press conference on Friday afternoon. "That's all we know right now."

Mayor Richard Alcombright called it a "devastating day" and ordered the city's flags lowered to half staff.

"We're all heartbroken for the DeMarsico family," he said. "Michael did truly die a hero serving his country in Afghanistan."

The city had not lost a resident to war since Peter W. Foote III was killed in action in 1968 in Vietnam.

DeMarsico was on his first overseas tour. The private, first class, joined the infantry after high school and was residing in Auburn, Wash., when he was deployed to Afghanistan in February. He was attached to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

His extended family had been eagerly awaiting his return in December, when he would have turned 21 years old.

Douglas, and Kristina Babcock of East Greenbush, N.Y., aunts on his mother's side, and his uncle Glen DeMarsico asked that the family be left to grieve in peace. They held hands in solidarity as they spoke of their beloved nephew in the mayor's conference room at City Hall. 

They described a strong, quiet, athletic young man with an interest in technology and engineering who was "an amazing brother" to his four siblings. The middle of five children, DeMarsico had planned out his future at an early age with his fascination with toy soldiers.

"Since Michael was a little boy, he's wanted to be in the Army," said Douglas. His parents had supported him, and kept in frequent touch through calls and Facebook post. Now his Facebook wall has become a memorial, with an outpouring memories and condolences from friends and classmates, family and comrades in arms.

On June 21, DeMarsico posted: "the american soldier does not fight because he hates who is in front of him, he fights because he loves who is behind him. R.I.P CM."

DeMarsico has spoken to his father by phone just two days before, said Douglas. "Michael told his parents he'd just accepted a position on the front line, going ahead of his troops to protect them, to find any bombs."

"Michael always put other people before himself, his family and friends, he'd do anything for anybody, that's why he was there," she said, holding up a photo of DeMarsico in uniform his mother kept and a small fatigues-clad teddy bear from his little sister, Leigha, a pupil at Brayton Elementery School.

Alcombright said Leigha had become especially interested in veterans after her brother was deployed.

"Leigha was so passionate about her brother being overseas," he said. "She was planting flags on Memorial Day at the cemetery, she walked with me in the parade this year and sat at the podium.

"She was all about veterans and all about her brother."

Glen DeMarsico, Laurie Douglas, and Kristina Babcock of East Greenbush, N.Y., Michael DeMarsico's aunts and uncle, spoke on behalf of the family.

DeMarsico is the second of the county's casualties from the war in Afghanistan, and the third in the War on Terror.

Army Sgt. First Class Daniel H. Petithory, a 1987 graduate of Hoosac Valley High School, was killed Dec. 5, 2001, in an American bombing only weeks after the United States invaded the country in response to the terror attacks of Sept. 11. A section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail through the Green Beret's hometown of Cheshire was dedicated in his honor.

Army Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, 24, of Pittsfield, died Dec. 18, 2003, from a physical ailment while serving during the Iraq War with the 10th Mountain Division.

A tearful Douglas said she was angry that U.S. troops were still in Afghanistan but not that her nephew was fulfilling his duty there in defense of his country.

"I am so proud of him and every man and woman that's over there," she said, but added with tears, "no parent, aunt, sister, cousin, brother, should ever go through this ... We have to bring them home, all of them."

The private was one of nearly 2,000 U.S. fatalities in the 11-year-old war, the nation's longest. The same day he was killed, seven other servicemen lost their lives in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan. The current plan is to draw down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Until DeMarsico comes home, the military star flag in his parents' window will remain illuminated and the city's flags at half staff.

"He was a young hero, a young hero gone too soon," said Babcock.

"A hero that was deployed to Afghanistan, and now deployed to Heaven," continued Douglas. "He'll just be standing at a different gate."

Correction: 11 Bravo is a designation for a military occupation specialty in the infantry. It was erroneously reported as a unit number. Updated with unit and place of death.

Tags: casualty,   war,   

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North Adams Happenings: July 24-30

North Adams Happenings July 24 - 30, 2019

AUGUST 6th - National Night Out
4:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.Neighborhoods throughout North Berkshire once again join the North Adams Police, Fire, and Emergency Departments to host a variety of special events such as cookouts, games, contests, music and more!
More information.

AUGUST 14th - 23rd Annual Downtown Celebration
JOIN US! The  23rd Annual Downtown Celebration will take over downtown North Adams on Wednesday, August 14 from 5:30 – 9 PM.  
RAIN DATE: Thursday, August 15th
BUSINESSES AND VENDORS: Application still available.
More information.
Wednesday 7/24
10:00 A.M. (FREE, $5 to park), NATURE WALK, Nice 'N' Easy Walk Natural Bridge State Park, McCauley Road More information.  

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  

10:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Preschool Story Time North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.   

6:30 P.M. ($3-5), SPORTS, SteepleCats V. Keene Joe Wolfe Field, 310 State Street  More information.

6:30 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Concerts at the Lake Presents The Matchstick Architects and Bang on a Can Windsor Lake, 200 Windsor Lake Road, (413) 664-6180 More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 7/25
5:00 P.M. (FREE), ART, 2019 DownStreet Art Main Street More information.

5:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, The Chalet: Apocalypstick Redd The Chalet at Courtyard D, MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way  More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Party in the Park Presents The Hotshot Hillbillies Noel Field, 310 State Street   More information.
Friday 7/26
7:30 A.M. (FREE), MEET UP, NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet Coffee Date NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet, Eagle Street, More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

11:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), KIDS, Kidleidoscope New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

6:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

6:30 P.M. ($3-5), SPORTS, SteepleCats V. Upper Joe Wolfe Field, 310 State Street  More information.

7:00 P.M. (BY DONATION), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More Information.

8:00 P.M. ($66-300), CONCERT, The Prentenders MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

8:30 P.M. (FREE), MOVIE, Movies Under the Stars at Colegrove Park Colegrove Park Elementary, 24 Church Street More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 7/27
9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. (FREE), MARKET,  North Adams Farmers Market St. Anthony's Parking Lot at Marshall Street and St. Anthony's Drive (413)664-6180 More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Peace & Rhythm InStore Belltower records, Norad Mill, Suite 301, 60 Roberts Dr More information.

2:00 P.M. ($25), ART, Artist Talk with Chrissie Hynde MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), ART, Open Studios at MASS MoCA Assets for Artists, 1320 Mass Moca Way More information.

6:30 P.M. ($3-5), SPORTS, SteepleCats V. New Bedford Joe Wolfe Field, 310 State Street  More information.

8:00 P.M. ($18-44), CONCERT, Adia Victoria MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Sunday 7/28
12:00 P.M. (FREE), PICNIC, Annual Summer Picnic Horrigan Road, Clarksburg More information.

3:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Public Puberty/Carbus/Human Pontiac Belltower records, Norad Mill, Suite 301, 60 Roberts Dr More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), FOOD & MUSIC, Racks and Stacks (barbecue and vinyl music) A-oK Berkshire Barbecue, 2601 Mass MoCA Way More information.
Monday 7/29
1:00 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, Crafternoons! North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, Discovery Mondays- Space Themed North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.
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