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Pentagon Releases Names Of Lejeune Marines Missing In Iraq

Posted March 31, 2003

— Fourteen Marines from the 2nd Expeditionary Force were listed as wounded in action and another eight as missing on Thursday, Camp Lejeune officials said.

Officials did not discuss the circumstances surrounding the incidents, said base spokesman Sgt. Spencer Harris.

Harris said the official designation for the eight Marines was Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown.

"It is missing," Harris said.

The Pentagon released the names of the eight Wednesday. They haven't been seen since a battle Sunday near the southern Iraq town of An Nasiriyah.

Seven are stationed at Camp Lejeune and one at nearby Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station:

  • Lance Cpl. Thomas A. Blair, 24, of Broken Arrow, Okla. 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group-28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
  • Pfc. Tamario D. Burkett, 21, of Buffalo, N.Y. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Cpl. Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse, 22, of Waterford, Conn. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline, Jr., 21, of Sparks, Nev. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford, 20, of Macon, Ill. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings, 19, of Boiling Springs, S.C. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Nixon, 21, St. Louis, Mo. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, 31, Ariz. (city not available). 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune.
  • Harris also said at least one Marine injured Sunday in fighting at An Nasiriyah would be returned to Camp Lejeune, but couldn't 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 wouldn't 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 nurse said he was very, very lucky compared to everyone else. The nurse said they did the surgery and he's doing fine and he's in good spirits."

    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 of the attack, which took place Sunday.

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