image description
Students from St. Joseph High School lined Bradford Street to welcome the fallen soldier home.
image description
Members of the Pittsfield Family YMCA stood in front of their building to honor Daehling.
image description
The Pittsfield Fire Department raised a flag on North Street for the motorcade to drive under.
image description
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders stood guard at the funeral home.
image description
Many citizens also lined the streets with flags.
image description
The Fire Department was on hand to salute the motorcade.
image description
The motorcade arrived at Dery Funeral Home at about 11 a.m.
image description
Hundreds gathered in Dalton on Thursday when Daehling was transported to St. Agnes.
image description
Daehling's arrival at St. Agnes.
image description
The Dalton Fire Department raised a large flag to honor the fallen soldier.

Hundreds Line Pittsfield Streets to Mourn Fallen Soldier

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story

UPDATED: May 23, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.

DALTON, Mass. — A procession transported the body of Army Spec. Mitchell Daehling to St. Agnes Church on Thursday.

Calling hours are from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday and the funeral will be held on Friday. The procession began at Dery Funeral Home in Pittsfield and proceeded up North Street to East Street, across Plastics Avenue to Dalton Avenue to Merrill Road and into Dalton.

The route again was lined with citizens paying their respects. The Dalton Police Honor Guard served a pallbearers and the Dalton Fire Department raised a flag outside of the church.

Daehling arrived shortly after noon. Photos from the procession can be found here.


Army Spec. Mitchell Daehling's body returned to the Berkshires on Wednesday. A funeral service will be held on Friday. More photos can be found here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Area residents from Lee to Pittsfield lined streets Wednesday to honor fallen Army Spec. Mitchell Daehling, as a procession carried his body back to Berkshire County.

The 24-year-old Wahconah High School graduate was one of four soldiers who were killed on May 14 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Daehling's body was transported by Patriot Guard Riders, Dalton Police and state police, along with individual town police to Dery Funeral Home on Wednesday. A funeral with full military honors will be held on Friday at St. Agnes' Church in Dalton.

"He'll be awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart," Veterans Agent Rosanne Frieri said.

Hundreds of people lined North Street on Friday, including local businesses, schools and organizations. The Fire Department raised a flag near the intersection of Bradford Street for the motorcade to cross under as it made the final turn into the funeral home.

At the funeral home, Patriot Guard Riders from all over the region stood guard with flags and waited until the family left.

But the honor wasn't just in Pittsfield. The body was transferred to Barnes Air National Guard Airport in Westfield Wednesday morning, where Frieri said he received full-military salutes.

When the motorcade, which included the his family and the family of his wife, Samantha Daehling, exited the Massachusetts Turnpike, Lee Police helped escort the body to Lenox, where Lenox Police, in turn, joined the escort to Pittsfield. In every town, people with flags stood on the roads honoring Daehling.

"It was just overwhelming and so greatly deserved. From the time we hot off the turnpike, every town had the fire department of the police on the road," Frieri said. "I just think it was great community support. I am very proud of the folks in Pittsfield."

Born in Kemmerer, Wyo., on July 6, 1988, he was the son of Kirk and Brenda Daehling of Dalton and graduated from Wahconah in 2006. He was educated in Idaho schools prior to moving to the Berkshires for his sophomore year in high school. After graduation, he attended Daniel Webster College in Nashua, N.H.

He attended Infantry Combat School at Fort Benning, Ga., graduating on Dec. 16, 2010. He was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, where the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based.

He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat and Special Skills Badge and the Basic Marksmanship Qual Badge, Expert.

He married the former Samantha McNamara of Westford last June and six months later was deployed to Afghanistan. The couple lived in Westford. Daehling also leaves his brother, Adam, and sister, Kayla, both of Dalton; his maternal grandmother, Mary Sander; paternal grandparents, William A. Daehling and Violet J. Daehling, of Clarkston, Wash.; and his wife's family.

The funeral will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Agnes' Church and the body will be transferred to Lewiston, Idaho, where he will be buried next to his grandfather, Kenneth J. Sander, who was also awarded a Purple Heart for his service during the Korean War. Sander died in 2009.

Those expected to attend the funeral include U.S. Department of Veterans Services Secretary Coleman Nee, Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday from 4 until 7 p.m. at St. Agnes Church. Westford Veterans Service Officer Terry Sadler, who rode with the motorcade Wednesday, said a memorial is expected to be held at St. Catherine's Church, where the couple was married, at a later date.

"There has been some discussion but nothing is confirmed. There is no date set," Sadler said.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in his memory be may be made to the USO or the Military Friends Foundation in care of Dery Funeral Home, 54 Bradford St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.

Tags: casualty,   funeral,   military,   

0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Pittsfield Receives Insurance Grant to Inspect Parks

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

City Council accepted a number of grants and referred several matters to the Finance Subcommittee. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city received a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association to inspect all playgrounds and provide inspection trainings.
The City Council accepted the $10,000 grant Tuesday. Superintendent of Parks Chris Evangelisto told the council that it will allow the city to inspect its own parks instead of outsourcing the service.
"Previously MIIA had a risk assessor they would send out. They haven't done it in three-plus years but that is why we went after this grant," Evangelisto said. "To get an unbiased inspection by a third party and have the ability to do that in house."    
The initial inspection would allow for a comprehensive safety inspection of all playgrounds and playground equipment.
View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories