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Small Western Mass. Town Remembers Fallen Marine

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LENOX, Mass. (WGGB/AP) — Funeral services were held on Friday for a Marine from Connecticut killed in a training exercise explosion in Nevada this month.

The service for 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Roger Muchnick Jr. was being held at St. Ann’s Church in Lenox, Mass., the hometown of his grandparents.

Muchnick grew up in Westport, Conn., where he graduated from Staples High School in 2008.

He was one of seven Marines killed March 18 when a mortar shell exploded in its firing tube during an exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot.

Lenox is a small community and the fallen Marine’s grandparents Robert and Mary Ann Coakley are well-respected.

Lenox high School Senior Seamus Ryan was one of the mourners.

“Coach Coakley, Roger’s grandfather was my coach when I was a little kid,  and he was an influential part of my basketball career and so I’m here to support him and his family in this tough time” says Ryan.

Carol Quinn’s life was touched by the Coakley family as well.

“Mr Coakley does a wonderful program at Kimball Farms at Pine Hill Assisted Living, and he talks about his grandson all the time, so it was really heartbreaking for all of us,” says Quinn.

Congressman Richard Neal was among the mourners.

“It’s a terrific testament to a life that was cut short, but you can also see small town America here the turnout, the tributes,” says Neal.

It’s a difficult time for friends and especially family, members. “It’s a  very emotional day, very difficult day for the family, we all feel terrible for them,” says family friend Michael Pignatelli.

Lance Corporal Roger Muchnick was buried at St. Ann’s Cemetery next to his great-uncle Navy Lt. Commander William Coakley, a pilot, who was shot down and killed over North Vietnam in 1966.

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