3 Hawaii-based Marines killed on duty in Iraq
One death termed "nonhostile" remains under investigation
Two Kaneohe Marines died in combat in Iraq, and another was killed in an unspecified incident, the Pentagon announced yesterday.
All three Marines were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, known as "America's Battalion," which deployed to Iraq in March. The unit has now suffered six fatalities since arriving in Iraq.
The Pentagon said Marine Lance Cpl. Jose S. MarinDominguez Jr., 22, of Liberal, Kan., and Lance Cpl. Hatak Yuka Keyu M. Yearby, 21, of Overbrook, Okla., were killed Sunday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, a hotbed of insurgent activity. MarinDominguez was serving his second combat tour.
And Lance Cpl. Adam C. Conboy, 21, of Philadelphia had been in Iraq for just eight weeks when he died Friday in a "nonhostile incident" in Al Anbar province, according to a release from Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Pentagon did not explain the circumstances of Conboy's death except to say it was under investigation.
Mary Warner, Conboy's mother, told a Philadelphia television station that "Adam strongly felt that it was the responsibility of his generation to carry on the tradition and to defend his country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we so readily take for granted."
He is also survived by his father.
Family members told WCAU-TV that Conboy became a Marine in March 2005 and had been in Iraq for just eight weeks. A spokesman at Kaneohe said Conboy reported to the Windward Oahu base last September. His medals include a Purple Heart.
MarinDominguez, a truck driver who had deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, joined the Marine Corps in October 2003 and reported to Kaneohe Bay in June 2004. He is survived by his parents.
In Oklahoma, KTEN-TV reported that Yearby's family said the Marine was killed when the Humvee he was riding struck a land mine.
Justin Yearby, Hatak's father, said his son joined the Marines because he was influenced by past veterans and past warriors. He said his son was known in Love County in southern Oklahoma for the tribal dances he performed. He competed as a traditional Choctaw Indian dancer and had traveled all over the world performing with his family.
Yearby, a warehouse clerk, joined the Marine Corps in May 2005 and reported to Hawaii in October. Besides his father, Yearby is survived by his wife, whom he married in February, his mother and two sisters, one of whom is a Marine.
Yearby graduated in 2003 from Marietta High School, where Vice Principal Pam Anderson described him as a quiet, well-mannered young man who was a good student and person. "What I do remember is that they used to travel and dance. He had the costume and all that, and he always wore the long hair," Anderson said.
Yearby wore two long braids until he woke one morning and told his mother he had to cut his hair because of a dream, said family friend Wilson Roberts of Ada, Okla. "That's one of the things he had to do to go into the Marines," Roberts said.
Since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, 30 soldiers, two sailors, 52 Marines and one civilian with Hawaii ties have been killed in Iraq. Fifteen 25th Infantry Division soldiers have died in Afghanistan, as well as 10 Kaneohe Marines and six sailors.
The tour in Iraq is the second combat deployment for the 3rd Battalion in two years. In November 2004 the unit was sent to Afghanistan for seven months. There it lost two Marines.
Since arriving in Iraq in March, American Battalion's losses in Al Anbar have included:
» Cpl. Andres Aguilar Jr., 21, of Victoria, Texas, drowned April 2 when the 7-ton truck he was riding in rolled over in a flash flood.
» Staff Sgt. Jason C. Ramseyer, 28, of Lenoir, N.C., died April 20 during combat operations.
» Cpl. Eric R. Lueken, 23, of Dubois, Ind., was killed April 22 in combat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Isle Guard awaits orders, if any, on border duty
It is uncertain what effect President Bush's plan to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the nation's border with Mexico will have on Hawaii Guard members, a Guard official said yesterday.
Maj. Chuck Anthony, spokesman for the Hawaii Guard, said the project will likely seek volunteers rather than mobilize units.
"Bottom line, I don't think anybody here would be able to tell you if there's going to be any impact whatsoever on the Hawaii National Guard," he said.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said he welcomed Bush's effort to strengthen the nation's border security. But he said he had concerns that the plan had not been thought through.
"Illegal immigration will not be solved through border security alone," Akaka said in a statement, "but also requires a comprehensive immigration reform that includes work site enforcement and increased quotas."