1st US Serviceman Dead in ISIS Mission

Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal died in 'noncombat' incident
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
A U.S. Marine from the 1st Marine Division Band salutes as the band plays the national anthem before a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers Friday, April 25, 2014, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – Washington may not have "boots on the ground" in Iraq, but it still recorded the first death of a serviceman in the fight against ISIS—19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, the Washington Post reports. The California native reportedly died in Baghdad in what the Pentagon is calling a noncombat incident. The military divulged no further details but says it is investigating Neal's death, the Marine Corps Times reports. Neal was on his first deployment as part of a new crisis-response group under US Central command; most of the group's 2,300-strong force are stationed in Kuwait, but Neal was one of the 150 assigned to guard US facilities in Iraq, the LA Times reports.

Neal's death is officially the first among servicemen fighting ISIS, although another Marine—Cpl. Jordan Spears—was lost at sea in the Persian Gulf earlier this month. Spears was in a Marine unit that also played a part in battling the Islamic State. Meanwhile, British forces pulled out of Afghanistan today as they and US Marines gave the Afghans two huge military bases, Reuters reports. "We gave them the maps to the place," says a Marine commander. "We gave them the keys." About 12,500 troops will stay behind—9,800 of whom are American—mostly to advise and train Afghans in their ongoing fight against the Taliban.

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