November 6, 2012

Port Henry soldier died clearing route

Staff Sgt. Dain Venne was removing explosive devices when one exploded in Afghanistan


---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Dain Venne was on combat patrol in Afghanistan on Saturday when he and two other soldiers were killed.

The U.S. Department of Defense released more details Monday about the Port Henry man’s death, saying Dain, 29, and some of his comrades were clearing Improvised Explosive Devices from a convoy route when one exploded near their Humvee in Afghanistan’s Paktia province.

The roadside bomb also killed Spc. Ryan P. Jayne, 22, of Campbell and Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz, 27, of Alden. A fourth soldier, Kale Clifton, 23, Smyrna, was injured in the blast and is being treated, the Pentagon said.


The soldiers were part of a combat engineering unit that had deployed to Afghanistan on June 1. They were assigned to the 178th Engineer Battalion, 412th Theater Engineer Command, Oswego.

He was a combat engineer with 10 years and nine months of service.

Venne, the son of Brian and Laura Venne of Port Henry, was a 2001 graduate of Moriah Central School and had attended St. Lawrence University in Canton.

He was employed as a construction worker for Kubricky Construction of Glens Falls.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff Wednesday in honor of Dain and the other two soldiers who died.

“Along with all New Yorkers, I mourn the deaths of Specialist Gornewicz, Specialist Jayne and Staff Sgt. Venne,” Cuomo said in a statement released Monday.

“These young men were all volunteers who lived and worked in our communities and gave their lives for our great country. We extend our condolences to their friends, their families and their fellow soldiers.”

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) has ordered flags on all county buildings to be at flown at half-staff and has requested that school districts and municipalities in the county do the same.


No funeral or memorial service details will be available until Venne’s body is brought back from Afghanistan. The Army said he will be flown first to the Dover, Del., base, then to Burlington International Airport for transfer to the Harland Funeral Home of Port Henry, tentatively at the end of the week.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors held a memorial service for Venne Monday morning at the Old Essex County Courthouse in Elizabethtown.


Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said that at 4 p.m. Saturday there was a knock at the door at the Venne home.

“It is what every parent fears. Two officers were at their home to tell them their son, Staff Sgt. Dain Venne, had been killed while in Afghanistan.”

Scozzafava said Dain was a fine young man.

“Everyone who knew Dain took a liking to him within a few seconds of meeting him. He could relate to people of all ages.”

Dain was a volunteer coach for Moriah sports teams.


“Right after 9/11, Dain enlisted in the Army Reserve,” Scozzafava said. “He didn’t like what had happened to his country. He wanted to do something about it.”

Scozzafava said Dain turned down a chance to come home last month because he wanted to stay and help train newly arriving troops.

He had talked with the young man before he shipped out for Afghanistan, asking him why he was going over, since he’d already served a tour in Iraq.

“If you could just see the horror so many innocent victims in this war-torn country live through daily,” Scozzafava said Dain told him.

“He was going over to try to help them.”

Email Lohr McKinstry: