Mass. Soldier One of Three Killed in Afghanistan
CHESHIRE, Mass. – An Army communications specialist who grew up in western Massachusetts was one of three soldiers killed in a friendly fire accident in Afghanistan, the man's brother said Wednesday.
Daniel Petithory, 32, was among those fatally injured when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar.
"He always wanted to be an Army man," Michael Petithory, the victim's brother, said at the family home in Cheshire. "He was born to do it."
Petithory was not married and had no children, his brother said. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Michael Petithory described his brother as a practical joker. Though 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he didn't play sports, but had always wanted to join the Army.
"As kids I wanted to play baseball," his brother said. "He wanted to play Army."
Daniel enlisted when he graduated from high school, his brother said.
"When he joined up, he was really proud," said Michelle Daunais, who also knew him in high school and now lives in Quincy.
Petithory grew up in Cheshire, said Carol Francesconi, a member of the Board of Selectmen in the town of 3,600 in the Berkshire Mountains near the Vermont border.
"They're just a family who's always been involved in town activities, a true American family," Francesconi said. "He served his country, and he did what he thought was right."
Carol Francesconi's son, Tom, who knew Petithory in high school, said he had been interested in martial arts and was one of two in his class who joined the military.
"It's going to hit Cheshire pretty hard," Tom Francesconi said. "It's very tight-knit."
The town planned to lower flags to half staff at its town hall and the local fire station, another selectman, Daniel Delorey said.
The three American soldiers were killed and 19 were wounded when the bomb, carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives, landed about 100 yards from the soldiers' position north of Kandahar, where the Taliban is making its last stand against Afghan opposition forces.
Five Afghan fighters also were killed in Wednesday's incident and an undetermined number were wounded.
All casualties were evacuated from the scene, first to a U.S. Marine base south of Kandahar and then out of Afghanistan.
The Pentagon initially reported two were killed. A third died en route to a hospital.