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Douglas A Dicenzo


U.S. Army


BAGHDAD, IRAQ 05/25/2006

Army Capt. Douglas Andrew DiCenzo was remembered in his hometown yesterday as an extremely intelligent and caring young man, who was fearless and driven to lead. Family said the 30-year-old West Point graduate died when the Humvee he was in hit a roadside bomb about 2 p.m. Thursday in the streets of southern Baghdad.

In Plymouth, where graves of fallen soldiers were being decorated yesterday for Memorial Day, the news came as a harsh reminder of the war in Iraq. DiCenzo was company commander for C Company in the 1st Armored Division 2nd Brigade based in Baumholder, Germany. He lived with his wife, Nichole, and toddler son, Dakin, in Germany. But according to his stepfather, Mark Burzynski, DiCenzo said if he were killed in action, he wanted to be buried in Plymouth.

Flags flew at half-staff at Plymouth Regional High School yesterday. Principal Bruce Parsons called DiCenzo “a true, all-American.” Graduating in the top five of his class, with a 94.6 academic average, DiCenzo was president of the Plymouth Class of 1995, captain of the football and wrestling teams. He led the Bobcat gridders to the state championship in his senior year. He also was a school board representative from the high school and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He considered only military academies for college and was accepted by the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 1999. He was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in November but had trained the past few years at Fort Benning, Ga., and in Fairbanks, Alaska, friends said.

On Main Street in Plymouth, DiCenzo was remembered for his caring nature, a man devoid of ego, fearless and a leader by example who saw in the military a way to hone his strengths and interest in leadership. “Probably the reason he was drawn to this was his outgoing and caring personality,” said Scott Biederman of Holderness. “He was an enthusiastic type who had no fear . . . There was no middle ground. “He obviously knew what he was getting himself into,” Biederman said. “His leadership skills were his strength.”

Friends were rallying around the family and trying to do what they could to ease the blow. Patti Biederman recalled DiCenzo as a small boy and how she watched him and his brother Daniel grow. She said she became good friends with his family when they were in the same babysitting cooperative.

Norm LeBlanc, a guidance counselor at Plymouth Regional High School and DiCenzo’s Little League coach, said DiCenzo was among the finest people the community has produced in his 37 years in education. “The parents did a fantastic job with them, and they did not skip a beat,” LeBlanc said. Had DiCenzo lived a full life, LeBlanc would not have been surprised to see him become a U.S. senator, he said. “He would always say the right thing. He was very thoughtful and caring,” LeBlanc said. “A true leader.”


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