NC-based Marine killed during combat operation in Iraq

North Carolina news

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. military officials have identified a Marine who died Saturday in Iraq as 35-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer of Mancos, Colorado.

In a statement Sunday, the Pentagon says Koppenhafer died after being engaged by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations.

In an earlier statement, the U.S. military said a service member had died during an Iraqi Security Force mission in Ninewah province, Iraq, while advising and accompanying the ISF during a planned operation.

Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer. Photo from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command

Koppenhafer, who joined the Marine Corps in 2005, spent the last 10 years as a “highly revered” MARSOC Critical Skills Operator, officials said in a news release.

He graduated from Adams State College in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Marketing.

Koppenhafer is survived by his wife and two children.

“Our most sincere thoughts are with the family and teammates of Gunnery Sergeant Koppenhafer during this difficult time,” Capt. Kristin Tortorici with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command said in a news release.

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