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Navy and Marine Casualties Surge in AfghanistanTim King Salem-News.com
Most casualties in Iraq have been from the U.S. Army, but in Afghanistan six Marines and sailors have died in four days.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A number of Marines and sailors have been killed in Afghanistan in recent days, demonstrating a true shift away from the traditionally larger number of casualties reported in Iraq.
The Department of Defense this week announced the names of four Marines who were killed in combat while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They are Marine Sergeant Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington, 20 years old, of Tacoma, Washington
Lance Corporal Layton Bradly Crass, 22, of Richmond, Indiana
Private first class Dawid Pietrek, 24, of Bensenville, Illinois
Private first class Michael Robert Patton, 19, of Fenton, Missouri All four Marines died June 14th while supporting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan.
The DoD says they were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.
The Farah Province is a spacious and sparsely populated province that lies on the Iranian border. According to Wikipedia, "Despite having a majority-Pashtun population, Farah has not seen much fighting since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and is peaceful, relative to many parts of the country." However, mountainous Eastern Farah has seen at least one US offensive against Taliban forces. It seems likely that we will see more reports out of Farah as it is located near two other provinces that have been the scene of much fighting in recent years.
Today, the government announced Navy casualties out of Afghanistan. Two sailors were killed supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They are identified as: Hospitalman Marc A. Retmier, 19, of Hemet, Californiz
Petty Officer First Class Ross L. Toles III, 37, of Davison, Michigan.
They died June 18th as a result of wounds suffered from an enemy rocket attack in northern Paktika province, Afghanistan.
The Navy sailors were assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team Sharana in Afghanistan. Wikipedia describes this as one of the most remote provinces in Afghanistan, and in an area that saw much devastation in previous years, Paktika suffers from a severe lack of critical infrastructure. Reconstruction in the province after the fall of the Taliban has been slow in comparison to that in nearby provinces such as Khost and Zabul. It was the scene of a civil affairs convoy ambush in November 2004 that included many casualties. Sharona is bitter cold in the winter.
Anyone who wants to know more about this part of Afghanistan should visit these reports that I filed from that region in 2006 and 2007:
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