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19 year-old Marine from Riverside has died in Iraq, becoming the second U.S. military member to die as the U.S. fights the advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, a specialist in the use of mortars, died in a “non-combat related incident” Thursday in Baghdad, the Department of Defense announced Friday. The incident is under investigation.
On October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria.
But Neal is the “first casualty announced by the Department since Operation Inherent Resolve was announced,” said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department.
President Obama, who campaigned on ending that war in Iraq, has vowed that U.S. forces will not return to combat there. But his administration is slowly expanding its involvement in Iraq and neighboring Syria in an effort to defeat the militant group