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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 23, 2006

Kane'ohe Marine killed by bomb

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

A 21-year-old Kane'ohe Bay Marine who died Wednesday in Iraq is the second Marine killed this month from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment as the unit prepares to return home.

Cpl. Yull Estrada Rodriguez of Alegre Lajas, Puerto Rico, was killed during combat operations in western Anbar province, the Pentagon said.

A release from Marine Corps Base Hawai'i said Estrada Rodriguez was a gunner on a 7-ton truck when it was struck by a roadside bomb.

Estrada Rodriguez joined the Marines in February of 2004 and reported to Hawai'i that same year. He deployed to Iraq with 1,000 other Hawai'i Marines in March but also had served in Afghanistan. He is survived by his mother and father.

The Sunni Arab heartland of western Anbar province remains particularly volatile with complaints that Shiite government institutions have not provided services there. Sectarian violence continues. Additional U.S. forces also were moved into Baghdad recently to quell spiraling sectarian violence in the capital.

According to the Pentagon, at least 14 U.S. service members have been killed in Baghdad this month, 16 in Anbar province, and 12 elsewhere in Iraq.

Hawai'i Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Miller, 19, of Pearland, Texas, was killed on Sept. 14 near Barwana while on foot patrol. He also was struck by a roadside bomb.

Estrada Rodriguez's death brings to 14 the number of Marines from the 3rd Battalion killed since March in Iraq.

The Hawai'i battalion's headquarters is at Haditha Dam, northwest of Baghdad, but Marines are spread throughout the "Triad" of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana near the Euphrates River and down to the Baghdadi-Jubbah-Dulab region.

About 60 Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, known as "America's Battalion," have returned to Hawai'i. A larger group is expected back the first week of October and other waves will return after that.

The Hawai'i-based 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment is replacing the 3rd Battalion in Iraq.

On Sept. 13, the last group of 300 Marines with the unit left for the country on an expected seven-month deployment.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.