Retired Army officer 'died doing what he loved'

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PITTSFIELD — Chief Warrant Officer Christian McCoy had served 23 years in the Army Special Forces before retiring last August.

But instead of living out his retirement at home in Brimfield, he returned to Afghanistan as a contractor. This trip to region would be his last.

McCoy was killed June 24, while on assignment as a member of the Joint Expeditionary Team. The circumstances of his death were unclear, but Newsweek reported that "a Mine-Resistant Armored Vehicle was damaged along with two remote-controlled weapon systems" at the time he was killed.

On Tuesday, members of the Army Special Forces carried McCoy's flag-draped coffin into St. Charles Church, where his wife and children reflected on his life and courage.

"He was a good dude, the best," McCoy's wife, Franny McCoy, said as she started her eulogy, before speaking directly to his children. "Your dad changed all corners of the world for the better. There are many people alive today because of him, including me."

McCoy, 49, was born in Berkeley, Calif. After graduating from high school in Colorado, he enlisted in the Army as a linguist and later went on to U.S. Ranger School and became a qualified Special Forces sniper, according to his obituary.

He retired from military service last August, after serving nine combat tours, including to Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and the Balkans, and being awarded a long list of service medals.

McCoy said that, over the 13 years she has known her husband, they often would say there was "no algorithm" that could place them together, but nevertheless they became "the perfect balance of two people."

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"There's been a lot of talk about superheroes in our house over the last couple of weeks," she said.

McCoy's children, Benjamin R. McCoy and Abigail R. McCoy, of Brimfield, and Sydney Stewart, of Louisiana, have superhero in their DNA, she said.

She also thanked the service members who filled the first few rows of St. Charles Church for their bravery and support.

"Somehow, what was supposed to have been my darkest hour has been my brightest," she said.

Benjamin McCoy, who is enrolled in the ROTC, said that his dad might not have been the biggest man in the group, but he was usually the bravest. Before leaving for Afghanistan, the two watched "Team America: World Police" and his dad laughed the whole time, he said.

"He never wanted to get old. He was in the best shape of his life this year," he said. "He died for all of us."

Speaking after her brother, Abigail McCoy said that everyone who attended the funeral probably knew a different side of her father.

"He shared his love of the Army with my brother. He shared his love of old, crappy music with me. He shared his love of the Earth with Sydney," she said. "It's a sad day, but it's also a good day he died doing what he loved."

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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