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Ohio Town Mourns Death of Local Marines Stationed in Iraq

In the past few days 20 United States Marines from a single combat battalion have died fighting in Iraq. The unit is based in the small midwestern town of Brook Park, outside of Cleveland, Ohio. As VOA's George Dwyer reports, the impact of so many deaths in such a short time has hit that small town hard.

The marines killed this week had been stationed here, near Lake Erie in the midwestern state of Ohio, far from the spot where they gave their lives.

Nine of the victims served in Lima company, famous for its role in the World War II conquest of the Japanese Pacific island of Iwo Jima.

The company had already lost eight marines in attacks earlier this year. Rosemary Palmer was convinced this would happen the last time she saw her son Augie alive. She says, "The pictures that we took before he went, we were sure that was the last time we'd ever see him."

It is difficult too for the marines, like Paul Clements, who must deliver the sad news to the families. "It's the hardest thing I ever had to do in the marine corps. It was harder than being in Iraq."

Imagine the pain for Lance Corporal Jeff Boskovitch's family. His body and belongings have been displayed for TV by Iraqi insurgents. Recalling his nephew, "He was like the all-American kid."

Over at a nearby state fair this week, people were expressing hope the war would end soon. But in Brook Park, they are getting ready for funerals.