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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An Okinawa-based Marine was killed Tuesday in Iraq, the Defense Department announced Thursday in a news release.

Sgt. Gary S. Johnston, 21, died while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, according to the release.

He was with Okinawa’s 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. He joined the Marines in May 2004 and was promoted to sergeant Jan. 1, a Marine spokesman said.

Johnston was from Windthorst, a Texas town of about 450 people.

The Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas, reported that the entire community was feeling the loss of Johnston, who as a high school senior made all-district football, playing offense and defense.

Windthorst football coach Bill Green told the Times Record News that Johnston was “the kind of kid you’d want in your squad. He’s a kid that I’d want in my huddle.”

Of Johnston’s death, the coach said: “This really brings the war … home. It makes it more personal.”

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