The second U.S. troop loss since American forces went back to Iraq to do battle with ISIS/ISIL was announced late yesterday by the Department of Defense. Lance Corporal Sean P. Neal, 19, died from a non-combat related incident in Baghdad.
The Riverside, California, Marine’s death is currently under investigation by the military. The announcement of his death is the first indication that a Marine Special Task Force is in place in Baghdad. While not necessarily a “secret mission”, until yesterday there was no confirmation this unit had already deployed to that area of conflict.
Neal had been a U.S. Marine for over a year and was a “mortar specialist” assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He was also part of the newly developed special task force. The Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command was formed as a continuing effort to improve crisis response capabilities around the world. Their headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton. The special task force is comprised of approximately 2,300 Marines and several aircraft. The website for this task force says it was not formed in response to the ongoing operations in Iraq.
On October 1, Marine Cpl. Jordan Spears, 21, died in a joint Navy/Marine mission in the Arabian Gulf. He was onboard a Marine MV-22 Osprey that lost power on take-off. The aircraft was on a collision course with the Arabian Sea when Spears and one other Marine bailed out rather that hit the water inside the Osprey. While the pilot was able to get control of the aircraft, Spears and his fellow Marine had already exited the Osprey. Spears body was not recovered.
Additional information on Lance Corporal Sean Neal, including commendations and marital status, is available to media sources by contacting the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours-Pacific Time-at (760) 207-5865.
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