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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Staples Grad Among Marine Nevada Casualties

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Roger Muchnick: 2008 Staples grad. Facebook.com photo

UPDATE A 2008 graduate of Westport’s Staples High School was among seven U.S. Marines killed in a training exercise in Nevada, his grandfather said Wednesday.

Jerome Muchnick of Philadelphia told The Associated Press that the family of Roger W. Muchnick, 23, had been notified of his death by military authorities. He was a native of Philadelphia.

A friend in touch with the family said he had served a tour in Afghanistan and one in Kuwait.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said he had heard reports of Muchnick’s death beginning in mid-afternoon Tuesday but had no confirmation until learning of the grandfather’s statement on Wednesday. “It is a sad day for Westport,” he said.

The names of the Marines, members of the Second Marine Division, an expeditionary ground combat unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.,  are not expected to be released until 9:45 p.m. Wednesday,  24 hours after the last families are notified. The accident took place late Monday night at a weapons depot in western Nevada.

Family friends —and later Muchnick’s grandfather—said Muchnick’s parents divorced and moved out of their home on Stoneboat Road and were no longer living in Westport. His mother, Kate Coakley, is in Florida and father, Roger Muchnick Sr., is in Asheville, N.C., Jerome Muchnick said.

He had a brother and two other siblings who also attended Staples, the friends said.

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Roger Muchnick: assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C. Facebook.com photo

A post on Twitter said: “My thoughts and prayers are with your family. You were one of the funniest kids around growing up. You are a hero. RIP.”

Muchnick played lacrosse at Staples, and he and his younger brother Will also played on the Staples football team. His family moved here from Weston.

He went on to Eastern Connecticut State University where he also played lacrosse. He said in a biography on the college website that if he had the money, the automobile he would “buy tomorrow” would be the space shuttle.

He also said the one thing he would like to do before he died was “live,” and his most embarrassing moment was getting caught lip-synching in a school talent show.

Muchnick was the first Staples graduate on active military duty to die since Charles Rochlin, 24, a U.S. Marine lance corporal, was killed in a car crash in Westport in December 2009.

He was home on leave from Camp Lejeune after completing a seven-month tour in Iraq and had been scheduled to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan. (See WestportNow Dec. 28, 2009)

Rochlin attended Fairfield Prep for three years where he played competitive ice hockey and graduated from Staples High School in June 2003.

Posted 03/19 at 10:47 PM


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