A funeral service will take place Friday in Lenox, Mass., for Marine Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., a former Westport resident who was one of seven Marines killed when a mortar exploded March 18 during a training exercise at a base in Nevada.
Muchnick, a 2008 graduate of Staples High School had joined the Marines in 2010, and followed in the footsteps of several relatives who served with distinction in the U.S. armed forces.
His great uncle, Air Force Lt. Cmdr. William F. Coakley, who was shot down over North Vietnam on Sept. 13, 1966, is buried in St. Ann's Cemetery in the western Massachusetts town where Muchnick's funeral will take place. Muchnick will be buried next to his uncle following a service at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Ann's Church.
In Westport, where friends and school officials still vividly recall "R.J." Muchnick's athletic skills and friendly, open character, an informal tribute to his memory has taken shape on Veterans Green since news of his death spread through town last week.
Inscribed photos of Muchnick in his Marine and Staples football uniforms, small American flags and flowers, and a lacrosse stick inscribed with the words, "Semper Fi RWM 3-18-2013," are among the memorial tokens.
Muchnick is survived by his mother, Kate Coakley of Jupiter, Fla.; his father, Roger W. Muchnick Sr. of Ashville, N.C; his maternal grandparents, Robert and Mary Ann Coakley of Lenox, Mass.; his paternal grandparents, Jerome and Marilyn Muchnick of Philadelphia; a brother Will, and twin sisters Avery and Grace.
He joined the Marine Corps in June 2010 after attending Eastern Connecticut State University. He was promoted to his current rank in May 2011. Muchnick's military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.