Army Spc. Marc P. Decoteau
Died January 29, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
19, of Waterville Valley, N.H.; assigned to the 6th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Jan. 29 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations.
(Taken from www.unionleader.com of Feb. 6, 2010) PLYMOUTH – Returning in a flag-draped casket to the Pemigewasset Valley where he grew up and was loved, Army Spc. Marc P. Decoteau was greeted by hundreds who stood in yesterday's cold as the young man's cortege passed by.
Decoteau, 19, was killed last week in Afghanistan.
Gov. John Lynch has ordered that state flags be flown at half-staff as a public funeral is held at 1 p.m. today at Plymouth Regional High School.
While there are no calling hours, Lynch was at the New Hampshire Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility yesterday morning to offer condolences to the Decoteau family as they awaited the private jet carrying the soldier's remains.
It touched down about 9:15 a.m. More than 150 service members stood at attention as part of the honorable transfer. A massive U.S. flag, hoisted over the gates of the tarmac, was held aloft by fire ladder trucks from Pembroke and Concord as the hearse passed underneath. People lined the gate holding flags.
Decoteau and Army Capt. David J. Thompson, 39, of Hooker, Okla., died last Friday in an incident that is "under investigation," the military said. Media reports from the Wardak province that day indicated two U.S. soldiers were killed by an Afghan interpreter. The interpreter was then killed by U.S. forces. Reports indicate the act may not have been militant but job-related.
In a statement, the Decoteau family said Marc knew what he wanted to do from an early age: serve his nation.
"We are proud of our son and all that he did and aspired to do for his country," the statement read.
From Concord to Plymouth yesterday morning, hundreds stood in the biting wind on bridges and overpasses as the procession passed.
In Concord, firefighters held out huge banners reading "Concord firefighters honor our fallen hero." Some stood on their trucks and saluted.
About 15 people were gathered at the Pinnacle Hill Road overpass at Interstate 93 in New Hampton, where flags were draped over the guardrail fence.
"It's the least we can do to honor our veterans,'' said Gib Murphy of Bristol, who was there along with Mike Lacasse of New Hampton, Ralph Ford of Bristol and Ford's daughter-in-law, Dee, who brought along her 2-year-old daughter, Sarah.
"It's sad to lose someone so young,'' said Dee Ford.
Lacasse said that while they were waiting for the procession, dozens of northbound drivers honked their horns to salute the display of flags.
The cortege moved swiftly along the highway, led by the blue lights of cruisers driven by state police and officers from Plymouth, Waterville Valley, Concord and Warren. As the hearse passed motorists, the red and white stripes of the flag that adorned the casket could be seen through the rear window.
On the Douglas Dicenzo Memorial Bridge leading into Plymouth from Holderness, more than 500 stood holding flags. There were small schoolchildren, parents with strollers, a large Army National Guard contingent in uniform, members of Boy Scout troops and athletes from Plymouth Regional High School. A large flag hung over the bridge, named for another young fallen soldier. Dicenzo died in Iraq four years ago. Both were graduates of Plymouth Regional High School, and both were considered standouts.
Decoteau was a 2008 graduate of Plymouth Regional High School, involved in football, theater and lacrosse. He had been in Afghanistan only three weeks.
His father, Mark F. Decoteau, is the Waterville Valley town manager, and his mother, Nancy A. Decoteau, is Warren's town administrator. He also leaves a brother, Andrew, and a sister, Maddie.
"Even though he was young, Marc touched so many people in a positive way. It is great to hear and read of the joy and happiness Marc brought with his smile and quick laugh," the family statement read.
The family also expressed "our heartfelt appreciation for the outpouring of love and support" and asked for continued thoughts and prayers for U.S. military men and women serving all over the world