July 2

Lance Cpl. James B.Huston Jr., USMC

The Department of Defense announced on July 3 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. James B. Huston Jr., 22, of Umatilla, Ore., died July 2 in a vehicle accident while his unit was responding to hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Associated Press -- HERMISTON, Oregon -- An Eastern Oregon marine has been killed in action in Iraq, according to military officials. In a brief news release, the Pentagon said that Lance Cpl. James Huston Jr., 22, of Hermiston, died Friday in a vehicle accident while his unit was responding to "hostile action" in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The military said he was a rifleman based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. According to Camp Pendleton spokesman Nathaniel Garcia, Huston joined the Marine Corps on Oct. 10, 2001. He had been awarded several military honors, including the Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal, the Armed Forces expeditionary medal, the presidential unit citation and the Sea Service deployment ribbon. James's brother Matthew, an electrician in the Navy, told the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton that knowing his brother's death was an accident helps the family deal with their loss. "I think we all take comfort knowing it wasn't in his hands," Huston said. "It was an accident, and accidents happen." James Huston had been redeployed to Iraq in March, after being in the country the first two months of the war and in the Gulf for several months in 2003, his brother told the newspaper. A Hermiston High graduate, Huston had once worked for his parents' excavation company, but wanted to see the world beyond Hermiston. When he shipped out, he told his parents not to worry over him. "Think of all of the married Marines with kids," he wrote his parents. "Not some punk like me." Matthew Huston said he will remember his brother as an avid hunter, a music lover and an artist. "He was the life of the party," Huston said. "Everyone that met him loved him." James Huston was the sixth Marine to die in the past month in the Al Anbar province, a Sunni-dominated area west of the Iraqi capital that has been a hotbed of anti-U.S. resistance. It includes the cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Qaim on the Syrian border. More than 850 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq in March 2003, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Included in that figure are at least 24 soldiers killed with close Oregon ties. Funeral arrangements for James Huston have not been made yet, but the family is meeting with a member of the armed services to make final preparations.

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