April 9

Cpl. Michael Speer, USMC

Associated Press -- DES MOINES, Iowa Another Iowa Marine has died in hostile fire in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Sunday. Cpl. Michael Speer, 24, of Davenport, was killed Friday in the Al Anbar Province, west of Baghdad, the DOD said. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C. A telephone message left late Sunday afternoon for officials at Camp Lejeune wasn't immediately returned. Attempts to locate members of Speer's family late Sunday were unsuccessful. Speer was one of at least a dozen soldiers killed Friday and Saturday, the DOD said. He was the 12th Iowan to be killed in Iraq. Speer also was the third Iowan to be killed or injured over the past week. Lance Cpl. Benjamin Carman, 20, of Jefferson, died Tuesday in hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, the DOD said. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Cpl. Brandon Berhow-Goll, 21, of Ventura, was injured last Monday when his unit was ambushed while on night patrol near Fallujah, said his mother, Jennifer Berhow-Hanson. He is assigned to the 1st battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, of Camp Pendleton, Calif. Speer was the second Davenport resident to die in the war. Marine Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus, 29, of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, drowned March 24, 2003, while trying to cross the Saddam Canal in southeastern Iraq.

Associated Press -- KINGSPORT, Tennessee -- A Kansas native who joined the Marine Corps and died last week in Iraq had yet to celebrate his first marriage anniversary. Cpl. Michael Raymond Speer, 24, died Friday after his unit came under fire in the Al Anbar Province west of Baghdad. He had married Eliza Davenport Speer on Aug. 16, and she survives him in Kingsport. Speer, who was born in Fort Scott, Kan., was based in Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., and had lived in Kingsport for the past couple of years. He was part of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He is the second Uniontown graduate killed in the Mideast in two months. Army Reserve Spc. David E. Hall, 21, died Feb. 25 in Afghanistan. Hall grew up two blocks from Speer, Smith said. Speer graduated from Uniontown in 1997. "We got 22 flags hanging in our lunchroom commons area with the plaques underneath them for every alumni in the service," said Uniontown High School Principal Tracy Smith. "Out of the 22, two of them are now draped in black." Speer had been stationed at Camp Lejeune since June 2001, Marine spokeswoman Gunnery Sgt. Kristine Scarber said Monday from the Pentagon. Funeral arrangements for Speer are pending at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home in Kingsport.

Lance Cpl Elias Torrez III, USMC

Lance Cpl. Elias Torrez III, 21, Veribest, Texas; died from enemy fire in Iraq. With the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, USMC

Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, 20, Spicewood, Texas; died from enemy fire in Iraq; 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Pfc. Chance R. Phelps, USMC

Associated Press -- CHEYENNE, Wyoming A 19-year-old Marine originally from Dubois was killed Friday while battling insurgents in Iraq, his father said Saturday. Pfc. Chance R. Phelps was shot in the head during fighting in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, according to his father, John Phelps. The family was notified early Saturday of his death. Chance Phelps was deployed to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom 32 days ago as part of the 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based in California, John Phelps said. His family last heard from him late last week, when he called to tell them he was all right after a round of fierce fighting. "We just weren't quite sure exactly where he was at," John Phelps said. "We called him on Tuesday when 12 were killed in Ramadi he called home right after that to say he was OK. Then the next morning he was the one on the news." Chance Phelps joined the Marine Corps while still a high schooler in Colorado, where he had lived recently with his mother. Friends said he was proud to serve his country. No funeral services had yet been scheduled. The family was waiting for Phelps' body to be returned from Iraq, Wilkerson said. Phelps is the eighth person with Wyoming ties killed in the line of duty since President Bush declared a war on terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks.

1st Lieutenant Joshua Palmer, USMC

1st Lt. Palmer died fighting in Anbar province, Iraq, on Thursday, April 9, 2004. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Pfc. Eric Ayon, USMC

ABC7 -- LOS ANGELES - Funeral services are expected to be held in Glendale this weekend for a 26-year-old Marine from Arleta who was sent to Iraq Feb. 18 and was killed in fierce fighting Friday. Pfc. Eric Ayon, who was based at Camp Pendleton, was among 70 Americans killed in Iraq since April 1 during the bloodiest 12-day period since the fall of Baghdad a year ago. A birthday card from Ayon to his 7-year-old son, Joshua, arrived at the family's Arleta home Monday. "Being your dad is the coolest thing I've ever done in my life," Ayon wrote, according to the Daily News. "You being my son makes me a better man. I'm sorry I'm not there with you today. I love you and I will always be around." Ayon was killed in a fierce gunbattle in the Al Anbar province Friday. "I always thought he was going to come back home," his sobbing wife, Angie, told the Daily News. "I just thought he was going to come back home because he was strong and he was a survivor. "We will all miss him." The Ayons -- high school sweethearts -- were married eight years ago. Ayon, a Herbert Hoover High School graduate, had always dreamed of becoming a Marine and fighting for his country, the Daily News reported. Before joining the military last summer, he worked at Mid Valley Continuation Day School in Van Nuys, where he realized his other passion -- mentoring troubled teens, steering them away from drugs and gangs, according to the Daily News. Ayon's sister, Cynthia, told the Daily News that the family was devastated by the loss but that family members realize that being a Marine had been Eric's dream. "I'm proud," she told the newspaper. "He's a real Marine. That was his dream ever since he was small. I'm proud of him. I don't want to cry no more. It was his dream. He did it." Ayon's body is being transported back to Southern California. The family plans to hold a funeral for him in Glendale, possibly this weekend, the Daily News reported . In addition to his wife, son and sister Cynthia, Ayon is survived by his father, Enrique; his mother, Maria; and a 15-year-old sister, Jasmine, 15.

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