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I now have further information on the Marines from 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division whose deaths I reported in an earlier blog, plus the circumstances surrounding the death of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class and SEAL Michael Monsoor. All were killed in Ramadi and Monsoor, along with Marc Allan Lee, became only the second SEAL to die in Iraq.
The Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice were Sgt. Julian Arechaga, 23, of Oceanside, N.Y.; Lance Cpl. Jon Bowman, 21, of Dubach, La.; and Pfc. Shelby Feniello, 25, of Connellsville, Pa.
Bowman went straight to the Marine Corps after graduating high school, according to his mother. He'd only been in Iraq a month when he died.
Arechaga re-enlisted just last month, starting his second tour in Iraq after serving a previous one in Afghanistan.
According to the Associated Press, Monsoor was in a sniper position with several other SEALs when an enemy hand grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor. Showing yet again the bravery and selflessness that we've come to associate with these amazing men, Monsoor tossed himself onto the grenade. "He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," a lieutenant who received shrapnel wounds to his legs said. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him." So do we all. In Vietnam, similar actions resulted in the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Moonsoor deserves the recognition of the nation's highest honor, as do the SEALs as a whole.