Two Marines from Camp Pendleton killed in Afghanistan
Two Marine riflemen from Camp Pendleton have been killed during combat operations in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Saturday.
Killed on Thursday were Lance Cpl. Brandon W. Pearson, 21, of Arvada, Colo., and Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Broehm, 22, of Flagstaff, Ariz. Each was on his first combat deployment.
"The incident is currently under investigation," the Department of Defense said.
The two were part of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The battalion has been assigned to the Sangin-Kajaki section of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, long a Taliban stronghold.
Hours before the two deaths were announced, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos had likened the Sangin-Kajaki battle to those in Ramadi and Fallouja in Iraq, where Marines encountered some of the bloodiest fighting of the Iraq war. Both regions are enemy strongholds, he said.
"That's the fight we're in right now," Amos told reporters. "We're going in to clean 'em right out."
Twenty Marines from Camp Pendleton have been killed in Afghanistan since late July.
Although it is not known whether the two incidents are related, Western military officials in Kabul announced that they are investigating claims by the Taliban that a defecting Afghan soldier killed three U.S. troops Thursday in Sangin.
--Tony Perry in San Diego