Flags on all Mechanicville government and school buildings were flying at half-staff Tuesday in honor of Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier, a city resident killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.
“They will stay that way until after the funeral,” said Mayor Anthony J. Sylvester.
The 26-year-old Marine is the first city resident to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Sylvester said.
Denier, who had been in Afghanistan only since late October, was hit in the neck by enemy fire while on foot patrol with fellow Marines in the Marjeh District of Helmand Province.
Marine Corps First Sgt. Stephen Griffin said Denier’s body was expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware late Tuesday or today. Local Marine Corps officials are expecting the body will be flown to Albany International Airport on Monday, but the schedule was still uncertain Tuesday.
Marie Betts of Gloversville, Denier’s older sister, said a Marine has been with her mother, Mary Denier Morgan of Mechanicville, throughout the past three days.
“The Marines have not left her side. They have been with her step by step,” Betts said.
She said her mother greatly appreciates the support the Marines have given her this week.
The Denier home on Grove Street has a large yellow ribbon attached to the front porch.
“He was very wise, but very shy,” Betts said about her brother. “He was a person you could always go to … for anything. He was just a great guy.”
Members of the Mechanicville police and fire departments will be going to the airport when Denier’s body arrives to help escort the body and family members back to Mechanicville. Sylvester said the escort procession will come up the Northway and into Mechanicville on Central Avenue, turn on Saratoga Avenue, drive past Denier’s home on Grove Street and proceed down Main Street to the DeVito and Salvadore Funeral Home on Main Street.
Calling hours and funeral services will be held at American Legion Post 91 on South Main Street at times and dates to be announced.
The U.S. Department of Defense released an official statement on the Marine’s death Tuesday, only saying that it happened Dec. 2 “while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province.”
Marine Corps authorities said this week Denier was on foot patrol in the Marjeh District when he was hit in the neck by a single enemy bullet. He was airlifted from the combat zone but was pronounced dead on arrival at a military medical facility at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, a Marine Corps spokesman said.
Denier was a rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was promoted to lance corporal in May. His awards included a National Defense Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, according to a statement from the 2nd Marine Division Public Affairs Office.
Sylvester said the city is also mourning the death of Deanna Rivers, 17, a Shenendehowa High School student who was killed with a classmate Saturday night in a crash on the Northway in Clifton Park. Rivers’ grandparents, Joseph and Mary Carol Lanzone, are longtime Mechanicville residents, the mayor said, and her paternal grandparents also were longtime city residents.
“It’s a double tragedy,” Sylvester said about the deaths of the students and Denier. “We are a close-knit city. People will be out to help.”