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Pentagon identifies US Marine killed in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon identified a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq this weekend as Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer.

Koppenhafer, 35, of Mancos, Colorado, was killed Saturday by enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations, the Department of Defense said in a Sunday news release.

Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The incident is under investigation, the Pentagon said.

According to Marine Corps Times, Koppenhafer was named “Marine Special Operator of the Year” in 2018 by the Marine Corps Association for his role in guiding elite Iraqi Special Operations Forces in northern Iraq.

Koppenhafer was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the official name for the U.S.-led operation fighting ISIS. A Pentagon inspector general’s report on the fight against ISIS released earlier this month warned that “despite losing its territorial ‘caliphate,’ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was re-surging in Syria.”

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