U.S. Military Pays Tribute to Fallen Marine

The death of a U.S. Marine over the weekend in northern Iraq underscores the dangers faced by service members in the country, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

"I'd like to start off on a somber note by offering our condolences to the family, friends [and] fellow Marines of Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin of Temecula, California, who was tragically killed on March 19," Army Col. Steve Warren said in opening his regular news conference with Pentagon reporters via video teleconference from Baghdad.

"Staff Sergeant Cardin was part of a U.S. Marine Corps detachment located near Makhmur, Iraq. His death reminds us of the risks that we all face here," Warren said.

Cardin, who was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was killed in an enemy rocket attack on his base.

New Firebase

 Warren said Marines are at a new firebase providing force protection to Iraqi and coalition forces who are occupying a tactical assembly area in Makhmur as part of the force generation associated with the liberation of Mosul. A small contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit began moving into position at the newly constructed firebase about two weeks ago, he added.

Separately, the commander of U.S. Central Command paid tribute to Cardin.

"Cardin’s service and his many important contributions will long be remembered by his fellow Marines, his teammates at United States Central Command, and a grateful nation," Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement yesterday. "Our gratitude and heartfelt condolences go out to this young man’s family and friends.”

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, took to Twitter yesterday to say there are heavy hearts across the Marines Corps and to express his condolences to Cardin’s family. “God bless the family of SSgt Louis F. Cardin – killed in Iraq 19 Mar. Semper Fidelis,” the general tweeted.

In a March 19 statement announcing that a Marine had been killed and others had been wounded, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook noted that this marked the second combat death since Operation Inherent Resolve began, adding that it reminds us of the risks our men and women in uniform face every day.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the service members involved, their families and their coalition teammates who will continue the fight against ISIL with resolve and determination,” Cook said.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)