Riverside Marine dies in noncombat incident in campaign against ISIS

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A Marine from Riverside has died in Baghdad. He was involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. (Facbeook)

A Marine from Riverside has died in Baghdad. He was involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Lance Cpl. Sean Neal died on Thursday from what the Pentagon is calling a "non-combat-related incident." The incident remains under investigation.

The 19-year-old soldier was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment as part of a Marine task force.

Neal's high school friend Edmond Kim was taken aback from the devastating news, which he learned about on Facebook.

"I dropped everything, just thinking about, wow, it's so unfortunate," Kim said.

He said Neal was a fun-loving teen with a huge smile and an affinity for video games.

"We were kind of rivals," Kim said, laughing. "You know that joy was really exhilarating, having a friend like that."

The two attended La Sierra High School in Riverside. Neal enlisted shortly after graduating in 2013. His battalion deployed to the Middle East in September.

Kim said he promised Neal that they would hang out when he got back - a promise he won't be able to keep.

The U.S. military campaign, called Operation Inherent Resolve, began Aug. 8.

It was earlier reported that Neal was the first U.S. service member to die in the military operation against ISIS. In fact, a Marine who was ejected from a plane over the Persian Gulf earlier in October and was presumed lost at sea was the first death, although that soldier isn't on the Defense Department's public list of deaths because the official paperwork hasn't been completed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Related Topics:
isisu.s. & worldmilitarymarinessoldier killedBagdadRiverside
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