Daniel J Geary

ROME, NY, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, 3D BN, 8TH MAR, (GCE SPMAGTF-AFGHANISTAN), CAMP LEJEUNE, NC KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN 03/20/2009

A Marine corporal killed in combat Friday in Afghanistan was planning to marry his fiancée when he returned from his tour in May, his father said.

Rome Mayor James Brown said the city would provide a police escort and flags will be at half-staff the day of funeral. The 22-year-old Marine planned to bring his fiancée, Rachel Patterson, from North Carolina to Rome and surprise her by marrying immediately instead of waiting, said the elder Geary.

Being a Marine was what Daniel Geary wanted to do, and that goal helped give him the drive to go back and complete high school after dropping out for a year, his father said. He graduated from Rome Free Academy in 2006.

“He wanted to get his diploma so he could go into the military,” Michael Geary said.

It was Daniel Geary’s second tour of duty, and he was going to sign on for a third, his father said. The first tour was in Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The middle child of seven in his family, Geary was remembered by people who knew him as very outgoing and fun-loving, but also responsible and family oriented.

“We’re very proud of him,” said John Conners, Geary’s godfather and commander of Rome’s Henry P. Smith American Legion Post. “He saw his duty and he did it, and he paid the cost.”

Family friend Della Pray, who got to know him when she served as his Air Force Junior ROTC instructor at Rome Free Academy, said Geary had many friends.

“Quiet wasn’t in his vocabulary,” she said. “He was a prankster. We were always playing jokes on each other.”

Geary “liked to bowl. He loved life. He enjoyed being with his friends,” commented his father. He said his son helped him buy the family’s current home in Rome, where they have lived since 2005.

Craig Vogel, owner of King Pin Lanes, said the Gearys were “a bowling family.” The bowling alley was “kind of subdued” Saturday night because of the sad news.

As a child, Daniel Geary made news in March 1995 when he awakened his father when a fire began in their apartment and pulled his 4-year-old sister from a burning bedroom.

He also is survived by his mother, Aggie.

Daniel’s portrait is also located on Poster 7