Three N.C. Marines die in Afghanistan

August 11, 2009 

Three more Camp Lejeune Marines died in Afghanistan over the weekend, the U.S. Defense Department announced Monday.

Dennis J. Burrow, 23, of Naples, Fla., Javier Olvera, 20, of Palmdale, Calif., and Patrick W. Schimmel, 21, of Winfield, Mo., died on three consecutive days in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and the center of the nation's opium trade, which helps finance the insurgency.

All three Marines were lance corporals with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

The Defense Department did not say how the Marines were killed, only that they were "supporting combat operations" in Helmand, a large province at the southern end of the country bordering Pakistan. A force of about 4,000 Marines, many based at Camp Lejeune, swept into the province earlier this year in one of the biggest U.S. operation in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

Also Monday, the Defense Department announced that Staff Sgt. Tara J. Smith, 33, of Nashville died in Afghanistan on Saturday as a result of a non-combat incident earlier in the month. Smith was assigned to the 50th Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg.

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