Tribute held for Shelter Island war hero and his unit

SHELTER ISLAND - A group of soldiers gathered on Shelter Island today for a special tribute to a fallen comrade who saved his unit in Afghanistan.

Members of the 71st Cavalry Unit, 10th Mountain Division, called the Banshees, were greeted with banners and huge flags in Lt. Joe Theinert's hometown. Theinert was killed by an explosive device last year.

The Banshee unit traveled from Fort Drum to lay a wreath and honor Theinert's family and the community that raised him. His father, James Theinert, says he's overwhelmed by the honor.

"Joe's mission was to bring his troops home safely, and we're celebrating the fact that these guys are back," he says.

Upon their arrival, the soldiers in the unit were accompanied by veterans in a motorcycle escort. Theinert's brother piloted the ferry named in the lieutenant's honor.

The Banshee unit will stay on Shelter Island through the weekend for the first-year memorial for Theinert, a church service and a barbecue at the American Legion Hall.

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