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US Reports First Combat Fatality - 2003-03-21

U.S. military officials are reporting the first combat fatality of the fighting in Iraq. President Bush was told the news at his morning briefing on the battle to topple Iraq's government and disarm the military.

A senior administration official says President Bush sends his condolences and sympathies to all the families of those coalition soldiers who have been killed in the operation.

A U.S. Marine in southern Iraq was killed Friday, the first combat death. A U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in northern Kuwait killing eight British and four American soldiers. The cause of that crash is under investigation, but officials say there were no reports of hostile fire in the area.

A senior administration official says these are the sacrifices the president talked about in preparing the country for war.

President Bush will brief congressional leaders on the war Friday before leaving for the presidential retreat at Camp David where he will spend the weekend meeting with cabinet officials on the next phase of the fighting.