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IRAQ: Mother grieves for daughter killed

May 8, 2008 |  2:20 pm

Casanova_casey Her mother had begged Casey Casanova, her only child, not to enlist in the Marines during wartime.

She encouraged her to "get out of the small town" of McComb, Miss., to "get options for herself," Paula Carruth told WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss. "I never imagined it would be the Marine Corps, but she made her choice."

On Wednesday, the Marine Corps announced that Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova, a field radio operator, was among four Marines from Camp Pendleton killed by a roadside bomb Friday in Anbar province.

She was 22 and engaged to marry a Marine in September. She had talked of studying in San Diego to be a nurse when her enlistment was finished.

Casanova was the 97th U.S. female service personnel killed in Iraq, according to the independent website icasualties.org. The 97 include 79 Army, nine Navy, seven Marine Corps and two Air Force personnel. Women make up about 2% of the nearly 4,100 U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first since the U.S. greatly increased the number of billets opened to women. Although federal law prevents women from serving in the infantry, they are in numerous jobs that put them in harm's way.

By comparison, of the 58,195 people listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, only eight are women.

"I never thought my daughter wasn't coming home," Carruth told the TV station. "I never put that in my heart or mind.... She was the best thing I did in my whole life."

—Tony Perry, in San Diego

Photo: Paula Carruth holding a picture of her daughter, Marine Lance Cpl. Casey Casanova. Credit: Aaron Rhoads, (McComb, Miss.) Enterprise-Journal

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