Pacific edition, Sunday, July 29, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Two Okinawa-based Marines were killed Tuesday during combat operations in Iraq’s Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

The two were identified by the Department of Defense as Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, 20, of Louisville, Ky., and Cpl. James H. McRae, 22, of Springtown, Texas.

Lynch was assigned to 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. McRae was assigned to 3rd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.

According to a military news release, they died along with a third Marine, Cpl. Matthew R. Zindars, 21, of Watertown, Wis. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I MEF, home-based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Arrangements for memorials for the two Okinawa Marines were incomplete Friday.

The three Marines were involved in combat operations in what U.S. officials consider the second-most dangerous province in Iraq.

The province bordering Iran is the site of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, where 10,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops are engaged in actions against suspected al-Qaida in Iraq strongholds, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen, according to The Associated Press.

According to a Marine spokesman on Okinawa, McRae, an automotive organizational mechanic, joined the Marine Corps in May 2004 and was promoted to corporal last August. He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, a Certificate of Commendation, a Letter of Appreciation, a Purple Heart Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon.

Lynch, an engineer equipment mechanic, joined the Marine Corps on May 30, 2006, and was promoted to lance corporal in February. He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Purple Heart Medal, and two Letters of Appreciation.

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