DOD identifies five soldiers killed in Afghanistan
The Department of Defense identified five Italy-based U.S. soldiers and one Marine who died of wounds sustained when they were attacked Friday in Aranus, Afghanistan.
Killed were: 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, 24, of Torrance, Calif.; Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman, 23, of Parker, Kan.; Spc. Sean K.A. Langevin, 23, of Walnut Creek, Calif.; Spc. Lester G. Roque, 23, of Torrance, Calif.; Pfc. Joseph M. Lancour, 21, of Swartz Creek, Mich.; and Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks, 28, of Troy, Mich.
Ferrara, Bocks and Langevin died Friday; the other three died Saturday, according to the Defense Department.
Bocks was assigned to Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., according to DOD.
The five soldiers were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
The announcement brings to 24 the number of 173rd soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the unit deployed there in May.
Ferrara, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has a brother who graduated the academy, another brother in the academy now, and another brother who is in ROTC at the University of Southern California, according to the Daily Breeze newspaper in Torrance.
Ferrara’s uncle, Phil Goff, is the defense minister of New Zealand, and Ferrara, who has dual U.S. and New Zealand citizenship, is the first New Zealander killed in the war in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.
Roque, also from Torrance, went to a different high school than Ferrara, according to the Daily Breeze.
Additional information on the other soldiers was not available by deadline Tuesday.
Including the deaths of two other U.S. troops — a Marine who died with the 173rd soldiers and an unidentified servicemember — November is the deadliest month in Afghanistan since June 2006, according to Defense Department statistics. It is also, by far, the deadliest November on record for the U.S. since the war there began more than six years ago, according to DOD numbers.
Since Nov. 1, at least 18 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, according to the Web site iCasualties.org, which tracks troop fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan. All but three of those deaths were from hostile causes.
According to DOD casualty statistics, 108 U.S. servicemembers have died in Afghanistan this year, making 2007 the deadliest year for U.S. troops there since the war began in 2001.