Two local men die in Afghanistan attack - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Two local men die in Afghanistan attack

Joseph Morabito Joseph Morabito
Lt. Colonel Todd Clark Lt. Colonel Todd Clark

HUNTER, N.Y. - Two of the three Americans killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan over the weekend were from upstate New York.

Military Security Contractor, 54-year-old Joseph Morabito, of Haines Falls in Greene County, was in Afghanistan conducting training when a soldier they had been training opened fire, killing Morabito and Lt. Colonel Todd Clark, of Albany.

Andrea Morabito says her husband loved his county and died doing what he loved. She tells the NEWS CENTER the Military informed her of Friday's attack on Saturday.

She was told her husband and Lt. Col. Clark were coming out of a meeting together when an Afghan soldier they had been training opened fire on them.

Andrea says motive is unclear; however her husband was always aware of the possibility of suicide-type attacks.

Morabito enlisted in the Navy in the 1970's, then spent some time working in law enforcement before working for the Military as a contractor, training civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect and serve their country.

Monday, June 10th, is Joseph Morabito's birthday, Andrea says. He would have been 55. She says no matter how much they are all grieving, they plan to celebrate his birthday and life; his daughter will bake a cake and they will all sing Happy Birthday.

She will be heading to Dover to receiver her husband's body. Services will be scheduled in Dover and locally, as well.

Clark, an Albany native and Purple Heart recipient, was on his fifth tour of duty when he was killed in Afghanistan.

At the entrance to the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, are the words "a grateful nation and your CBA family thank you and mourn your sacrifice."

"I can't tell you the sense of loss we all feel and how heavy the heart is right now," said David Doemel, who was vice-principal of the high school when Clark graduated in 1990.

Doemel said Clark was a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel at CBA.  Ironically, he held the same rank as a soldier in the U.S. Army.

"He participated in a lot of different things," said Doemel.  "He was on the football team, but he wasn't a star.  What made him standout was his work ethic and how he related to his teammates."

Doemel said he last spoke with Clark two years ago, while he was recovering from an IED attack in Afghanistan.

"He got on the phone and was asking me about my operation and how I was doing, and here he was rehabbing himself," said Doemel.

Clark was awarded a purple heart after the attack.  Family friend and Albany County Comptroller Mike Conners said Clark always remained humble and devoted to serving his country.

"Just a tremendous person," said Conners.  "Obviously for a person that young to go to a lieutenant colonel that quickly, there's obviously big things in store for him." 

Clark was in his fifth tour of duty, leaving behind his wife and two children. 

Conners and Doemel both agree Clark's sacrifice is one that should never be forgotten by this country.

"These young men and women do a tremendous service for this country," said Conners.  "We owe them a huge debt and I don't think we'll ever be able to repay his wife and children."

"Our students sometimes teach me things and Todd was one of those students," added Doemel.  "He taught me something about what it meant to be concerned, patriotic and a leader."

Clark will be laid to rest in San Antonio, Texas, the place he called home.

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