U.S. Combat Casualties in Iraq Rise to 3,693

By Patrick Goodenough | October 21, 2016 | 4:22 AM EDT

More than 4,541 American military personnel have died in Iraq since March 2003. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)

(Update: The Pentagon named the U.S. serviceman killed in northern Iraq on Thursday as Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan, 34, of Anaheim, California. Finan, who was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal unit, died of wounds sustained when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was in.)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. serviceman killed by a roadside bomb north of Mosul Thursday is the fourth to be killed in action since the mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) was launched in 2014 – and the 3,693rd American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine to be killed in combat in Iraq since the war there began in March 2003.

The military member, whose details have not yet been released by the Pentagon, brings to at least 4,541 the number of American personnel who have died in Iraq – both in combat and otherwise – since then.

He died 4,962 days – more than 13 and a half years – after the first U.S. combat death was recorded in Iraq, on March 21, 2003.

A CNSNews.com database details all U.S. fatalities in Iraq over the 90 months of Operation Iraqi Freedom; the 16 months of Operation New Dawn running up to the withdrawal under President Obama of the last U.S. troops in December 2011; and the 25 months of Operation Inherent Resolve, the anti-ISIS mission announced by Obama in September 2014 (having declared three months earlier that an initial 300 military advisors were going in.)

 

Over the past two years, the number of U.S. personnel in Iraq has climbed to today’s official “force management level” of 5,262. (The Pentagon says the actual number stationed there, as opposed to fluctuating temporary deployments, is just below 5,000.)

The as-yet unnamed member killed on Thursday had been working as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist in support of Kurdish peshmerga fighters involved in the Mosul operation, the Associated Press reported.

He is the fourth American killed in combat since Operation Inherent Resolve began.

The first, 39-year-old Special Forces Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, died from wounds he sustained from enemy small-arms fire during a joint U.S.-Kurdish raid on an ISIS-run prison in Hawija, Kirkuk province one year ago this weekend.

Wheeler, from Roland, Oklahoma, was the first American to be killed in action in Iraq since 2011.

The second Operation Inherent Resolve combat fatality was Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin, 27, of Temecula, California, who died on March 19 this year when ISIS fighters attacked a fire base in Mahmour, Erbil

On May 3, Navy SEAL Charles Keating, 31, of San Diego, Calif., was killed in a firefight near Tel Usquf, in Ninawa province.

Apart from the four deaths in action – the White House says the men were killed in combat, but not on a combat mission – there have also been at least 22 U.S. non-combat fatalities since Operation Inherent Resolve began: seven soldiers, six airmen, two Marines, four sailors and three Navy civilians. They are named below.

The very first U.S. combat casualty in Iraq when the U.S. invasion began was Marine 2nd Lt. Therrel Childers, 30, of Harrison County, Miss., who was shot during an assault on a pumping station in the south of the country. Marine Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, 22, of Los Angeles, died in a firefight on the same day.

Over the months and years between then and the Dec. 2011 withdrawal, another 3,689 Americans would fall in combat, according to the database. (Figures from other sources differ slightly, due to varying approaches to deaths in the broader region linked to the Iraq conflict.)

The deadliest month for American troops was November 2004, when 139 were killed in combat, followed by April of that year (125 combat deaths) and May 2007 (121 combat deaths).

The most costly sustained period were the nine months from October 2006-June 2007, when a total of 805 U.S. personnel died in combat. Only after President Bush’s troop “surge” in 2007 did the number of combat fatalities drop, with the monthly tally falling to single digits for first time in July 2008.

From a total of 784 in 2007, combat deaths dropped to 228 in 2008, and then to 71 in 2009 and 22 in 2010. 2011 saw a small uptick, to 34 combat deaths, 14 of them in June of that year.

The last combat fatality in Iraq – before the four Operation Inherent Resolve deaths – was Army Spec. David Emanuel Hickman, 23, of Greensboro, North Carolina. He was killed in a roadside bomb in Baghdad on November 14, 2011.

The 22 American personnel involved in Operation Inherent Resolve who have died in non-combat circumstances are:

--Army Warrant Officer Travis Tamayo, 32, of Brownsville, Texas, died on September 16, 2016, in  a non combat-related incident in Abu Dhabi.

--Army 1st Lt. Jeffrey D. Cooper, 25, of Mill Creek, Washington, died on September 10, 2016, in Kuwait, from a non combat-related injury.

--Air Force Lt. Col. Flando E. Jackson, 45, of Lansing, Michigan, died on August 4, 2016, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, from a non combat-related injury.

--Airman 1st Lt. Anais A. Tobar, 25, of Miami, Florida, died on July 18, 2016 in Southwest Asia, from a non combat-related injury.

--Navy Gunner’s Mate Seaman Connor Alan McQuagge, 19, of Utah, died May 26, 2016 of a non combat-related injury while underway onboard the USS Harpers Ferry in the Red Sea.

--Army 1st Lt. David A. Bauders, of Seattle, Wash., died May 6, 2016, on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in a non combat-related incident.

--Navy civilian Michael Baptiste, 60, of Brooklyn, New York, died on April 28, 2016, in a non combat-related incident in Bahrain.

--Navy civilian Marcus Prince, 22, of Norfolk, Virginia, died on April 26, 2016, in a non combat-incident in Bahrain.

--Airman 1st Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, 22, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, died on April 15, 2016 in Southwest Asia as a result of injuries sustained after extreme winds caused structural damage to the building where he was working.

--Navy civilian Blane D. Bussell, 60, of Virginia, died on January 26, 2016, in Manama, Bahrain, of non combat-related causes.

--Army Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 30, of Glendale, California, died on January 28, 2016, at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province, from wounds suffered when his armored Humvee was involved in a roll-over accident.

--Air Force Maj. John D. Gerrie, 42, of Nickerson, Kansas, died on January 16, 2016, in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, from a non combat-related incident.

--Army Pvt. Christopher Castaneda, 19, of Fripp Island, South Carolina, died on November 19, 2015 in a non combat-related incident at the Al Asad airbase in Anbar province, Iraq.

--Army Maj. Jonathan D. Walker, 44, of Merriam, Kansas, died in Doha on October 1, 2015 of a non combat-related incident.

--Seaman Philip Manes, 21, of Fairfax, Virgina, died in Manama, Bahrain of a non combat-related incident on September 27, 2015.

--Army Pfc. Monterrious Daniel, 19, of Griffin, Georgia, died at Camp Buehring in Kuwait, in a non combat-related incident on June 12, 2015.

--Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan D. Burris, 24, of Lisle, Illinois, died May 21, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in a non combat-related incident.

--Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Devon Doyle, 21, of Alamosa, Colorado, died after falling from a balcony in Manama, Bahrain while on liberty on May 16, 2015.

--Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Salazar, 40, of Hermosa Beach, California, died of a non combat-related injury on April 13, 2015.

--Air Force Capt. William Dubois, 30, of New Castle, Colorado, killed when his F-16 crashed after takeoff from a base in the Middle East on December 1, 2014.

--Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died in a non combat-related incident in Baghdad on October 23, 2014.

--Marine Cpl. Jordan Spears, 21, of Memphis, Indiana, who was lost at sea after he bailed out of an MV-22 Osprey when it lost power shortly after taking off from an amphibious assault ship on October 1, 2014.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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