Afghanistan war casualty has family in Phoenicia

By Jay Braman Jr.
When Pfc. Douglas Cordo, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, died in Afghanistan Friday of injuries sustained in the roadside detonation of an improvised explosive device, the shock was felt locally. Then it was felt statewide.

Cordo, who was 20, has roots in Phoenicia, where his grandmother, Helen Cordo, still resides.
On Tuesday his grandmother said she was holding up well, but finds it difficult to do so. Douglas, she said, bore a remarkable resemblance to her other son, James Cordo, who was killed in 1998 by a gunshot on Halloween night in Hunter.

“I’m thinking they are up there now having a good time together,” she said.

Private Cordo graduated from Kingston High School in 2009, though his family hailed from Phoenicia. He was raised in the Kingston area by his mother, Tracy Karson of Hurleyville.
On Monday, once word spread of the tragedy, many began to take notice, including New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff today, Wednesday, Aug. 24 in honor of Cordo.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to the friends, family, and fellow soldiers of Private First Class Cordo,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will mourn the loss of this New York soldier and we will remember his dedication to our nation.”

Also, the City of Kingston set its flags at half-mast in honor of Cordo on Monday.

In Shandaken, where Cordo’s grandmother is well-known, similar honors are underway.
“We put our flags at half mast on Monday and they will remain that way through Wednesday,” said Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley. “This is a terrible loss.”

Helen Cordo said the outpouring of care from her community has been overwhelming.
“This is a very special place,” she said. “When one of us has a heartache the whole town has a heartache.”

It remains unclear where Cordo’s remains will be put to rest, Helen said, because the Army has yet to release the body. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home in Kingston.