Local News

Lejuene Marine killed in Afghanistan

Posted July 15, 2009 2:51 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2009 3:28 p.m. EDT

— One of two Marines killed in Afghanistan on Monday was from a North Carolina battalion, the military announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. David S. Spicer, 33, of Zanesfield, Ohio, was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Lejeune.

He and Sgt. Michael W. Heede Jr., 22, of Delta, Pa., died in a "hostile incident" in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan , according to the Department of Defense.

Some 4,000 Marines are pushing through Helmand province in the biggest U.S. military operation in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001. The region is the world's largest opium poppy-producing area and the Taliban's heartland.

Taliban fighters have planted dozens of roadside bombs in the region, one of the greatest threats to troops operating there. Militants have increased their attacks dramatically in the last three years.

The deaths bring to 107 the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year, compared with 151 U.S. deaths in 2008. As of Monday, at least 660 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since 2001, according to the Defense Department. Of those, the military says 492 were killed by hostile action.