Well-Liked Marine Major Killed In Iraq

December 13th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Well-Liked Marine Major Killed In Iraq

USA Today
December 13, 2006
Pg. 10
Highest-ranked woman to die 'made difference'
By William M. Welch, USA TODAY
A major who rejoined the Marines so she could go to Iraq has become the highest-ranking female servicemember to be killed in the war.
Megan McClung, a 1995 graduate of the Naval Academy, was remembered Tuesday by family and friends as having steel-like constitution. She was a triathlete who organized and ran a marathon in Iraq and competed in six Ironman competitions running, swimming and bicycling around the world.
McClung, 34, was a public affairs officer with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton in California. She died Dec. 6. in Anbar province, a focus of insurgent violence in Iraq, the Department of Defense said. She was in a truck, escorting journalists on a story in downtown Ramadi, when a roadside bomb exploded.
She is the first female Marine officer to be killed in Iraq. Her death has prompted outpourings of remembrances from military colleagues and reporters whom she helped cover the conflict. Many have been posted on military-related and media websites.
"Major Megan McClung is my guardian angel today," Lawrence Kaplan wrote in a column on The New Republic website. She "choreographed my present journey through Iraq," and reporters covering the war widely admired her, he wrote. "McClung did a difficult job cheerfully, and she did it well."
McClung's parents, Michael and Re McClung of Coupeville, Wash., said their daughter wanted to be in Iraq with the military and rejoined the service last year to go there.
She served in the Marine Corps until 2004, when she left active duty and went to Iraq as a public affairs officer with Kellogg, Brown and Root, a defense contractor and subsidiary of Halliburton.
Re McClung said that after that tour, her daughter "wanted to be with the Marines. She said the whole time she was there (with KBR), 'I should have been there as a Marine,' " the mother said. "She wanted to get the message out about the courageous folks who are there doing their job."
"It wasn't a tragic end," she said. "Megan died in service of her country doing very much what she believed in. She believed in the mission, that the Iraqi people had a right to their freedom. She wanted people to know that. She wanted to get the story out."
McClung was born in Hawaii, where her father was a Marine. She grew up in Mission Viejo, Calif., a suburb south of Los Angeles and north of Camp Pendleton. Her parents moved to their home on Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound in Washington state, last year.
"My wife and I remember Megan as a cheerful, full-of-life young girl, very easy to like," said her former next-door neighbors in Mission Viejo, Don Karpinen. "We grieve with her family."
Camp Pendleton spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Cliff Carnes told the Associated Press the journalists she was with were not seriously injured, he said. She is the fourth female Marine to die in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
Lt. Col. Bryan Salas, public affairs officer with the Multi-National Force-West in Iraq, told the North County Times of San Diego County that McClung was an advocate of news media covering military operations and managed the Marines' program of embedding journalists with troops. She organized a Marine Corps marathon in Iraq.
McClung, who was single, was in the final month of a yearlong deployment to Iraq. She had been based with Marines in Cherry Point, N.C., Parris Island, S.C., and Virginia Beach, Va., as well as at Camp Pendleton.
McClung's parents said their daughter prided herself on having no more possessions than she could carry in the trunk of her car, and that she was always ready to mobilize for her duty.

Similar Topics
Marine Corps Knowledge
What you didn't know about Iraq
New Rules In Iraq May Make It Tougher To Keep Insurgents
Shaking hands with Sadam Hussein
Help the expert please ( Fahenheit 911 ).