NORTH ADAMS -- Nearly a month after arriving home from their deployment in Afghanistan, six of U.S. Army Spc. Michael DeMarsico II's platoon mates have come to pay respect to their fallen brother and to visit his hometown.
"We first heard about the support his community showed him when he came home when we were still in Afghanistan," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Kettenhofen said Tuesday, while the group stopped at Berkshire Emporium and Antiques on Main Street, with DeMarsico's family. "I've been in the military for six years and have never seen anything like the support from this community that we read about and saw in stories and videos. That type of support is not something we're necessarily used to seeing. We heard the city basically shut down to line the streets."
Another three members of the platoon from 2nd Platoon C Co.of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, known as "Duces Wild," are expected to arrive in the city today.
DeMarsico, 20, died from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device while serving in Panjwai, Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
He would have celebrated his 21st birthday Friday.
Kettenhofen said the group decided to come out to the city to honor DeMarsico's memory and to meet his family.
"We arrived [Monday] and spent the night at his parents' house," he said. "We've also visited Michael's resting place."
Lisa and Michael DeMarsico, Michael's parents, said they had brought the group to visit Drury High School and to Berkshire Community College.
"We want to show them where Michael grew up and his favorite places," Lisa DeMarsico said. "We plan on taking them to Natural Bridge and a few other places. We also took them to see the mural at the North Adams Movieplex."
The mural, painted by Kira Guidon of Stone Home Studio Design, includes a portrait of DeMarsico.
"It's pretty incredible," U.S. Army Staff Sgt.Thomas Smith, a platoon mate, said of the mural.
Several of the platoon members, who referred to DeMarsico as "DeMar," have tattoos on their arms honoring him.
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