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March 28, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
'Friendly Fire' Injures Marines in Iraq
More Than 25 Marines Injured in 'Friendly Fire' Incident Near An Nasiriyah, Southern Iraq

The Associated Press


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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. March 28

More than 25 Marines from Camp Lejeune were wounded in a friendly fire incident near An Nasiriyah, one of the southern Iraq cities where irregular forces have put up far more resistance than American military planners expected.

U.S. officials said some or all of them were hurt when one Marine unit mistakenly fired on another Wednesday.

No deaths were reported and no Marines were missing from that incident, officials said.

The Pentagon also released a list of eight additional Marines reported missing in action since a battle Sunday near An Nasiriyah. Seven are stationed at Camp Lejeune and one is stationed at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station.

Second Lt. Kate VandenBossche, a Camp Lejeune spokeswoman, declined Thursday to comment on the wounded and missing soldiers.

In Jacksonville, home to Camp Lejeune, 2nd Lt. Kevin Claybon, 23, attributed friendly fire incidents to "the fog of war" while waiting outside a restaurant for a friend.

"During that time, with everything that is going on the battlefield, anything can happen, especially when it's combat," he said. "No one is deliberately trying to make mistakes."

A number of Lejeune-based Marines have been wounded or killed in fighting in or near An Nasiriyah that began over the weekend.

Base spokesman Sgt. Spencer Harris said at least one Marine injured Sunday in fighting at An Nasiriyah would be returned to Lejeune. He could not say when that would be.

Sgt. Jose Torres, 26, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his left pelvic area, his mother Karen Torres of Lorain, Ohio, told The Chronicle Telegram of Elyria, Ohio.

Torres' wife, Gennifer Williams-Torres, reached at the family's quarters at Camp Lejeune, said her husband would not want her to comment. They have a 2-year-old son.

Torres' mother, Karen Torres, said the family had been told her son was injured by shrapnel, but later was told he had multiple gunshot wounds.

"The nurse told us to be thankful because somebody was looking out for him," she said.

The mother said Torres will be on medical leave until his injuries heal, but "knowing him, he'll probably want to go back" overseas.

Lance Cpl. Joshua Menard of Camp Lejeune also was injured Sunday. He said during an interview at a military hospital in Germany that he and other Marines were attacked by Iraqis who appeared to be civilians.

Menard, 21, from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, said he was hit in the left hand, severing nerves.

"I was up on the bridge with six other Marines, pulling security and letting our troops over when what would appear to be civilians came with AK-47s from the city side and started shooting at us," Menard said Thursday.

Cpl. Al Hasting, 20, of Chattanooga, Tenn., from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was struck in the eye by grenade shrapnel Tuesday, his mother said Thursday.

"I talked to him this morning just for a minute," Jayne Hasting said. "He was on a C-130 transport on his way to Germany for surgery. It was a very brief conversation."

The mother learned her son was injured in an early Tuesday phone call from ABC newscaster Diane Sawyer, who is in Iraq with his military unit. She said finding out about her son's injury that way made the news "easier in a sense."

She was unsure where her son will recuperate.

"I don't think he is going to be going back to the war at all," she said.

Another injured Lejeune Marine is not expected to be shipped home, his father said.

Pvt. David Matteson, 19, of Dorset, Vt., suffered shrapnel wounds to his face, legs and shoulders while driving a truck as part of military convoy, Eugene Matteson said.

"A grenade went off over the top of the truck," said the father, adding he had no other knowledge of the circumstances of how his son was wounded. He said his son's injuries were not believed to be serious.

Matteson is from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.


photo credit and caption:
Cpl Bobbe Sysombath , 22, from Stockton, Ca, of the 15th U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit, on an armored vehicle guards his camp, near An Nasiriyah, southern Iraq, Thursday, March 27, 2003. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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