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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 186-03
April 01, 2003

DOD IDENTIFIES MARINES KILLED IN ACTION

The Department of Defense announced today the identification of the following Marines who have been killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are:

Capt. Aaron J. Contreras, 31, of Sherwood, Ore., was killed on March 30 in a UH-1N Huey helicopter crash in Southern Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA)-169, Marine Aircraft Group-39, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, 21, of Queens, N.Y., was killed in action on March 27 when the tank he was riding in fell into the Euphrates River during combat operations northwest of An Nasiriyah. His remains were recovered on March 30. He was assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

The Department of Defense also announced today it has changed the status of Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Nixon, 21, of Nashville, Tenn., from Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown to killed in action. 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 30.