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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

September Proving to Be One of the Deadliest Months for U.S. Troops

September 17, 2004|Sources: Times staff, Associated Press, Globalsecurity.org

Halfway into September, 52 U.S. troops have been reported killed in Iraq, making it one of the deadlier months for American forces since the war began in March 2003.

The deadliest month was April 2004, when 135 U.S. troops died, followed by November 2003 with 82. The toll for September already exceeds that of 10 of the 18 months since the war started.

According to an Associated Press tally, at least 1,023 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq. The latest deaths came Thursday when three Marines, all members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton, were killed during "security and stability operations" in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad, the military said.

Each death resulted from separate incidents; one Marine was killed in action and the two others died of wounds sustained in action.

The military did not release further details, saying that could "place our personnel at greater risk." The names of the Marines were withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Twenty Marines and soldiers have died this week, and 15 have been identified. Many of those died in Al Anbar province, a hotbed of the insurgency that includes towns such as Fallouja and Ramadi.

Killed in Al Anbar were:

* 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, 27, of Fairfax, Va., and Pfc. Jason T. Poindexter, 20, of San Angelo, Texas. The two Camp Pendleton-based Marines died Sunday as a result of "enemy action."

* Lance Cpl. Mathew D. Puckett, 19, of Mason, Texas, and Cpl. Adrian V. Soltau, 21, of Milwaukee. The two Camp Pendleton-based Marines died Monday as a result of "enemy action."

* Marine Lance Cpls. Michael J. Halal, 22, of Glendale, Ariz., and Cesar F. Machado-Olmos, 20, of Spanish Fork, Utah, who died Monday in vehicle accidents, and Dominic C. Brown, 19, of Austin, Texas, who died in a "noncombat-related incident." Brown was based at Camp Pendleton; Halal and Machado-Olmos were assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C.

* Maj. Kevin M. Shea, 38, of Washington, D.C. Shea, communications officer for the 1st Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton, was killed Tuesday when insurgents attacked the Marine command post at Camp Fallouja, sources said.

Col. Lawrence Nicolson, who had just been installed as the commander of the 1st Marine Regiment, reportedly was seriously injured in the same assault.

* Lt. Tyler H. Brown, 26, of Atlanta died in the city of Ramadi, as a result of small-arms fire.

* Marine Lance Cpl. Drew M. Uhles, 20, of DuQuoin, Ill., was killed in action Wednesday. He was based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

In other incidents elsewhere in Iraq, two soldiers died Monday in Taji, about 10 miles north of Baghdad, when their vehicle came under attack by small-arms fire and a homemade bomb. They were Staff Sgt. David J. Wesisenburg, 26, of Portland and Spc. Benjamin W. Isenberg, 27, of Sheridan, Ore.

In Baghdad, two soldiers were killed Monday when a homemade bomb exploded near their observation post. They were Staff Sgt. Guy S. Hagy Jr., 31, of Lodi, Calif., and Sgt. Carl Thomas, 29, of Phoenix. Both were based at Ft. Hood, Texas.

On Tuesday, two soldiers were killed in Baghdad, U.S. Central Command reported, but they have not been identified. In addition, Sgt. Jacob. H. Demand, 29, of Palouse, Wash., died in the northern city of Mosul when his patrol was attacked.

Three Polish soldiers who were part of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq also were slain this week. The three were killed Sunday in Hillah, south of Baghdad, when their convoy was attacked by insurgents using machine guns and armor-piercing bullets.

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