First U.S. Military Casualty during Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq

Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal is the Marine identified as having died on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in Baghdad. Photo credit: Facebook

Last Friday, the Pentagon announced the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, the first U.S. serviceman to die in Iraq during the mission to combat Islamic State militants.  The mission’s goal is to thwart the efforts of the group, who has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria.

According to The Washington Post, Neal, a 19-year-old from California, died in Baghdad.  His death is being described as “a noncombat” incident.  Additional details have not been released at this time.

“Inherent Resolve”, the Obama administration’s mission against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria, began earlier this year.  The young Marine’s death is the first U.S. causality in Iraq since the mission began and more military group troops have been sent to the area.

Over 4,000 U.S. troops died in Iraq after the U.S.-led attack in 2003.  The Obama administration has sought to ensure the U.S. is not drawn into another costly and messy ground war.  U.S. troops had been withdrawn from Iraq in 2011.

The Washington Post reported that Neal’s death, which occurred on Thursday, is a milestone for the President Obama, who has promised that U.S. forces will not return to combat in Iraq.  However, his administration has been forced to slowly expand military involvement as the militant groups overtakes more areas in Iraq and Syria.  ISIS has also threatened to attack the West as well.

According to the NY Daily News, Neal was a mortarman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

Joining the Marine Corps in July 2013, he was stationed in Camp Pendleton before being assigned overseas earlier this year.  He was part of a U.S. military group designed to impede the efforts of Islamic State militants.

U.S. troops currently have set up joint headquarters in both Baghdad and Irbil to advise Iraqi forces and support air strikes on Islamic State targets.

The NY Daily News reported that thus far ISIS has not relented in striking the Syrian border town of Kobani.  The group started shelling the southern and eastern parts of the town on Saturday in an effort to push back Kurdish forces.

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