WESTPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Connecticut man was among the seven U.S. Marines killed during a training exercise in Nevada earlier this week.
Roger Muchnick, 23, grew up in Westport and was a popular athlete in Staples High School’s class of 2008. He was killed when a mortar shell exploded during an exercise at the Hawthorne Army Depot on Monday.
Eight other Marines were wounded in the mishap, according to officials.
Muchnick’s grandfather, Jerome, said his grandson never failed to express his love for his parents, siblings and extended family.
“He happened to have been a very sweet and loving boy. Sometimes I would wake up in the morning and on my cellphone would be a message, just something to tell you ‘I love you grandfather.’ What can I tell you, I’m devastated. I can’t wrap my brain around it, I just can’t,” 77-year-old Jerome Muchnick told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
Flags are flying at half-staff across Westport as the community grieves the loss of Muchnick, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“Disbelief, just why and how could this happen,” family friend Jim Izzo told CBS 2’s Burrell. “You can’t just help but have your heart bleed for the family and just pray for them.”
“I’m terribly sorry, just beyond sorry,” family friend Janet Horelick said. “His sisters were so proud of him, obviously, and his parents and his brother.”
Jerome Muchnick said his grandson had served two tours in Afghanistan.