UPDATED: Derry marks a soldier's death
1st Lt. Paul DeMeo of Derry, seen here in his portrait as a member of the Class of 2011 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
He was born at U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Oct. 1, 1989. He was a 2011 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he received a bachelor of science degree in engineering management. He was a 2007 graduate of Pinkerton High School. He joined the 2nd/505th in August 2012.
1st Lt. DeMeo was remembered by his parents, Paul and Lucienne DeMeo of Derry, as being "a prince who God called back to His kingdom."
"Paul was a charming person who always looked out for his brothers and sisters," his mother Lucienne said. "As an Army officer, Paul looked out for his troops as if they were family."
Among his near-term goals, 1st Lt. DeMeo wanted to earn the Expert Infantry Badge, graduate from the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School, successfully complete his duties as a platoon leader and earn assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was also planning to attend graduate school.
1st Lt. DeMeo played flute and piano. He joined the Kwajalein swim team at age 4 and held pool records at Kwajalein. While in high school, he participated in several national young leaders conferences.
"Paul was the first cadet from the JROTC program to graduate from a service academy," said Lt. Col. Howie Steadman, one of the program's instructors. "Unfortunately, he was also the first cadet from the program to die while on active duty."
"That is the highest rank in the cadets," said Steadman. "At the time, there were 200 cadets, so he was at the top of those 200 within the program."
"He was loyal and respectful and all of those other good adjectives that you could think of," he said.
DeMeo's two younger brothers kept up the family's tradition of military service; both entered service academies after graduating from Pinkerton Academy.
Pascel entered the U.S. Naval Academy, and is also scheduled to graduate this weekend.
Over the years, Steadman has had a close relationship with all the members of the DeMeo family; he played a role in Paul's graduation from West Point in 2011.
Steadman said the JROTC program will take steps to memorialize DeMeo's life and service next year.
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