Sgt. Morgan W. Strader, of Indiana and Crossville, Tenn., died in combat, which likely took place in Fallujah, the formerly insurgent-controlled city of 300,000 on the northern banks of the Euphrates River west of Baghdad.
U.S. forces began a push into the city last week to purge anti-American combatants launching attacks on U.S. troops and to ensure trouble-free Iraqi elections in January.
American and Iraqi forces now control the city, according to the Department of Defense.
Strader, who grew up in Tennessee, died as a “result of enemy action,” said Sgt. Mark Ledesma, a Camp Pendleton, Calif., spokesman. Pendleton is about 35 miles north of San Diego. He was a military policeman on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He had been a Marine for four years.
Ledesma would not say how Strader was killed, or exactly where, citing Marine Corps policy. The Corps is concerned enemy insurgents can gather U.S. media reports as intelligence, he said.
Strader’s mother Linda Morgan, who has lived in Montclair for about three years, was on her way to Indiana for a memorial service Monday and could not be reached.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
A 21-year-old Marine from Woodbridge was also killed in action in Fallujah on Friday. He was with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force assigned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe.
Morgan is a wonderful woman, according to friend Liz Schneider, another Montclair resident. Schneider has known Morgan for two years.
She was notified of her son’s death Friday — the day he was killed, according to Schneider.
He will be interred in Tennessee sometime this weekend, after his remains arrive at Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Del.
U.S. service members killed overseas are brought to Dover before going on to their final resting places.
Strader had won a Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal, according to Camp Pendelton’s public affairs office.
Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.