Sgt. Michael Yarbrough
(reprinted from NCTimes.com, September 10, 2007)
Four Pendleton Marines die in suicide bombing
CAMP PENDLETON — Four Camp Pendleton Marines killed in a suicide car bombing in Iraq’s Anbar province last week have been identified by the Defense Department, raising the toll of locally based Marines who have died in the four years since the war began to more than 340.
Killed were Staff Sgt. John C. Stock, Sgt. Michael J. Yarbrough, Cpl. Christopher L. Poole Jr. and Cpl. Bryan J. Scripsick.
Published media reports in and around the hometowns of each man provided personal details that the military does not routinely share about U.S. troops who die in combat.
Those reports showed that Yarbrough, who was from Hot Spring, Ark., would have turned 25 next week.
Stock, 26, was on his second deployment to Iraq and was supposed to return home next month. The Gregg, Texas, native leaves behind a wife and two sons as well as his parents, four sisters and a brother.
Poole, born on the Fourth of July, died at age 22. He was supposed to visit his family in Florida in November.
Scripsick, 22, grew up in the Pauls Valley area of Wayne, Okla., and also was weeks from coming home.
All four Marines were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber drove a car up to their checkpoint and detonated the device. The precise location of that incident was not disclosed.
The men were assigned to Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion from the 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
Stock joined the service in 1999 and counted among his awards the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Scripsick joined the Marine Corps in 2004 and had among his honors a National Defense Service Medial and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Yarbrough had been in the Marine Corps since late 2001 and had served in Korea. His awards included a Navy Unit Commendation and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
Poole joined the service in June 2004. He’d received the National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
About 8,000 Camp Pendleton Marines are now in Iraq. Most are working with North Carolina’s II Marine Expeditionary Force, which is in the sprawling Anbar province west of Baghdad. The slain Camp Pendleton Marines were with the 25,000-member II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Camp Pendleton’s 2,200-member 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit also is in Iraq, having arrived there earlier this summer and due to return home by year’s end. The U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, announced Monday that a Marine unit of more than 2,000 troops is coming home soon, but did not specifically name the expeditionary unit as that force.
Despite improvement in the Anbar region in recent months as a result of greater cooperation from Sunni tribal sheiks in the region, U.S. troops are still subject to almost daily attacks from insurgents tied to al-Qaida operatives.
Most of those attacks come in the form of roadside or suicide car bombings.
At least 343 locally based Marines have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Through Monday morning, the Pentagon said 3,759 U.S. service men and women have been killed and nearly 28,000 wounded in Iraq.