PITTSFIELD -- The body of a 24-year-old Dalton soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on May 14 will be arriving in Pittsfield today ahead of a wake and funeral later this week at St. Agnes Church in Dalton.
U.S. Army Spc. Mitchell K. Daehling's body will arrive at Barnes Air National Guard Airport in Westfield at 8:45 a.m. and then be transported to Dery Funeral Home in Pittsfield. The hearse is expected to travel down North Street in Pittsfield on its way to the Dery Funeral Home between 10:30 and 11 a.m., according to Pittsfield's director of Veterans Services, Rosanne M. Frieri.
"We are asking people to come out on the street to support his arrival," Frieri said.
Kathy Mickle, of the Here At Home Committee, is encouraging employers to allow their workers to be on North Street to greet the procession. American flags are encouraged.
"It is small gesture that will honor this young man and his family," Mickle said in a statement.
The hearse will be accompanied from Westfield to Pittsfield by the Patriot Guard -- a motorcycle group of military veterans, a Dalton Police cruiser and a Massachusetts State Police cruiser, Frieri said.
Calling hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at St. Agnes Church, 489 Main St., in Dalton. The body ie expected to leave the funeral home at 11:30 a.m. and arrive at the church by noon. Dalton residents and members of the Here at Home Committee are expected to line the streets along that route on Thursday to show their respect, according to Dalton Police Chief Jeffrey Coe.
The funeral with full military honors also will be at St. Agnes at 11 a.m. on Friday.
Daehling will be posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and NATO Medal following the service. Daehling, who graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in 2006, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Sanjaray, Afghanistan. He was one of four soldiers killed in the attack. The others were Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24, of Hacienda Heights, Calif.; Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29, of Hesperia, Calif.; and Pfc. Cody J. Towse, 21, of Elk Ridge, Utah. The Defense Department confirmed Towse's death on Monday.
Secretary Coleman Knee from the U.S. Department of Veterans Services, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal are scheduled to attend the funeral, Frieri said.
On Friday, traffic will be prohibited on Main Street (routes 8 and 9) in Dalton between Carson Avenue and Glennon Avenue beginning at 10 a.m., Coe said. Traffic traveling through Dalton from the east and west will be detoured around that area until roughly 1 p.m.
Daehling will be buried in Lewiston, Idaho, next to his grandfather, Kenneth J. Sander. In his final wishes, Daehling asked to be buried next to his grandfather, according to his obituary.
Born in Wyoming, Daehling was educated in schools in Idaho, before his family moved from Montana to Dalton midway through his sophomore year in high school.
The son of Kirk W. and Brenda Daehling of Dalton, Mitchell Daehling attended Daniel Webster College in Nashua, N.H., for four years after graduating from Wahconah. He majored in homeland security. He joined the Army in September 2010.
Daehling was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, in Fort Bliss, Texas.
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