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IRAQ: Marines, politicians win fight to bring widow to US

October 6, 2008 |  5:28 pm

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Pressure from the Marine Corps and a U.S. senator has overcome bureaucratic opposition in the State Department to allowing the Japanese widow of a Marine killed in Iraq to enter the U.S. to have their baby, the Marine Corps Times reported Monday.

Hotaru Nakama Ferschke, 25, the widow of Sgt. Michael Ferschke Jr., was initially denied a visa because the couple had been married less than two years, the newspaper reported. Ferschke was killed Aug. 18 as Marines stormed an insurgent hide-out.

The couple had married, by proxy, after he deployed to Iraq with the Okinawa-based 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

Several weeks ago Ferschke's widow called his family in Tennessee "in hysterics" because she had been denied a visa. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. William Seely, Maj. Jordan Walzer, several Tennessee congressional representatives, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)  petitioned the State Department to reconsider.

Ferschke now plans to remain in Japan for the birth, but her husband's parents, Robin and Michael Ferschke, plan to go to Japan and "bring both Hotaru and their grandson to Tennessee," the Marine Corps Times reported.

— Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: The parents of Sgt. Michael Ferschke  and his widow, Hotaru Nakama Ferschke, receive American flags at burial service at Tennessee Veterans Cemetery on Aug. 18. Credit: Associated Press.

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, as well as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

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