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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Pfc. Douglas L. Cordo

Died August 19, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


20, of Kingston, N.Y., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Aug. 19 in Shah Joy, Zabul province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.



Fallen soldier ‘wanted to be right out’ on front lines

By Susan Campriello
The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal


KINGSTON, N.Y. — Tracy Karson, the mother of Army Pvt. 1st Class Douglas L. Cordo, said she hopes her son’s body will be home in the coming days.

Cordo, a Kingston native, died Aug. 19 of injuries he suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while his unit patrolled the Zabul Province village of Shah Joy in Afghanistan.

Cordo was an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division, out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Days after Cordo’s death, Karson, 43, of Hurleyville, Sullivan County, expressed mixed feelings about the departure of American troops from Afghanistan and the continuing conflict there.

“I want it to end. I want to bring those guys home,” she said. “But what’s the alternative?”

Karson said she does not want America to experience another 9/11-type attack or for fighting to take place in the United States. Karson said she has discussed the drawdown of troops and her mixed feelings with an Army major assigned to her.

Cordo arrived in Afghanistan for a yearlong tour in April, and would not have been among the troops to leave by the end of this year.

Cordo was expected to return home for 15 days in mid-September, Karson said.

He had returned in March and attended her wedding, and had traveled from Fort Wainwright for Christmas, she said.

Karson and Cordo’s father, also named Douglas Cordo, of Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, said their son was a natural leader and had wanted to join the military as a child.

Karson said her son discussed with her his desire to join the Army or the Marines after he briefly attended SUNY Ulster.

Cordo grew up in Kingston and graduated from Kingston High School in 2009.

Karson said she supported her son’s decision to join the Army in 2010 “100 percent.”

However, she wished that he had joined to do something away from the front line instead of the infantry, she said.

“He wanted to be right out there,” she said.



‘There’s nothing you can really say about this’

By Emily Stewart
The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal


KINGSTON, N.Y. — Army Pfc. Douglas L. Cordo was laid to rest Aug. 31 in St. Remy Cemetery following a funeral service at the Old Dutch Church.

Cordo, 20, a Kingston native, died Aug. 19 of injuries he sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated while his unit patrolled the Zabul province village of Shah Joy.

Cordo was an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Four of Cordo’s friends and a friend’s mother spoke at the funeral, recollecting antics and stories about a class clown — and sometime troublemaker — who put his friends before girls and transformed into a brave soldier who died for his country.

“There’s just so many stories,” said Mike Campbell, 21. “There’s nothing you can really say about this. It’s something — all you can do is think about it.”

A crowd stood somberly in front of the uptown post office, across the street from the church.

Troy Boutilette, 43, watched as six Army pallbearers from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point carried Cordo’s flag-draped coffin. Boutilette said he served with the Marines in Afghanistan in 2003-04.

“These kids are making a big sacrifice,” he said. “He had his whole life ahead of him.”

Michelle Elise and her daughter, Sylvan Garesche, 6, each held a small American flag. Elise said she didn’t know Cordo but felt compassion for his mother after reading about the death in newspapers.

“He was an only child,” she said.

About three dozen motorcycle riders accompanied the funeral procession. Most were members of the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder, two groups that support fallen service members.

“We’re believers in freedom,” said Mike Kubiak, 52, a Patriot Guard Rider. “And they gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.”

Cordo arrived in Afghanistan in April for a yearlong tour. He would not have been among the troops scheduled to leave by the end of this year.

His family said he intended to pursue a career in law enforcement.

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