CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Michael Geary was so proud to be a Marine he wore his dress uniform to show his Pinkerton Academy English teacher after he completed training.
Geary, a 20-year-old from Derry, joined the Marines after he graduated from Pinkerton in 2009 and had risen to the rank of lance corporal by the time he died Wednesday in Afghanistan. He had started training to be a Marine when he was 14 by running and working out with his recruiters, his grieving uncle Michael Maccormack recalled Thursday.
Being a Marine “was just something he really wanted to do,” Maccormack said.
The family still does not know what happened, Maccormack said.
Geary had been in Afghanistan since August and was due to come home in January. He had other chances at leave but passed them up to help buddies with families. “If he had leave, he passed it up to someone who was married and had children,” Maccormack said.
He was serving his first tour in Afghanistan, Maccormack said.
He planned to become a police officer or border patrolman when he got out of the service, he said.
Geary told teachers when he was accepted into the Marines it fulfilled a lifelong ambition, Pinkerton spokesman Robin Perrin said. Several teachers remembered Geary as a quiet man who deeply loved his country.
Geary’s English teacher, Joseph Dion, issued a statement about his former student, recalling the day Geary told him he had been accepted into the Marines. “He was standing tall, proud of his decision to become a
Marine,” Dion wrote. “Right from the start I liked having Mike as a student. He was genuinely interested in learning; he asked honest questions with a real desire to know the truth. When he made the decision to join the Marines, it was clear he had made a decision that would help him achieve a goal he truly believed in.”
Dion recalled Geary’s senior essay was on what it takes to become a Marine and what Marines have to offer.
Dion said the two remained in touch and Geary stopped by after completing his training in his full dress uniform to show he had done what he had set out to do. “Mike was a young man people could admire for his conviction
and his accomplishment,” Dion said.
Gov. John Lynch said Geary sacrificed his life so “all of us could be free, and we owe him a debt we can never fully repay.”
“He is a true New Hampshire hero,” Lynch said. “All of us here in New Hampshire are deeply saddened by the loss of such a brave young man.”