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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 173-03
March 30, 2003

DOD ANNOUNCES MARINE CASUALTIES

The Department of Defense announced today the identification of the following Marines who have been killed in action on March 27. They are:

Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, 33, of San Jose, Calif. He was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Jesus A. Suarez Del Solar, 20, of Escondido, Calif. He was assigned to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The Department of Defense announced today it has changed the status of the following Marine casualties from missing in action to killed in action. They are:

Lance Cpl. Thomas A. Blair, 24, of Wagoner, Okla. He was assigned to the 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group-28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, N.C. His unit was engaged in operations on March 24 on the outskirts of An Nasiriyah in Iraq. His remains were recovered on March 28.

Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, 31, of Yuma, Ariz. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Camp Lejeune, N.C. His unit was engaged in operations on March 23 on the outskirts of An Nasiriyah in Iraq. His remains were recovered on March 28.

The Department of Defense also announced today the identities of four Marines whose status has been listed as missing in action. They are:

Staff Sgt. Donald C. May, Jr., 31, of Richmond, Va. Lance Cpl. Patrick T. ODay, 20, of Sonoma, Calif. Pfc. Francisco A. MartinezFlores, 21, of Los Angeles, Calif.

These three Marines are assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. They were last seen while conducting convoy operations in the vicinity of the Euphrates River on March 25. A search and rescue effort is continuing.

Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez, 26, of Yuma, Ariz. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron-371, Marine Wing Support Group-37, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz. He was last seen conducting convoy operations in the vicinity of Al Nasiriyah on 28 March. A search and rescue effort is continuing.

The Department of Defense also announced today that Lance Cpl. William W. White, 24, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was killed in a non-hostile vehicle accident on March 29 in Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif. The accident is under investigation.

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