Nation & World

Marine foresaw death, mother says

The Ohio mother of a N.C.-based Marine who died Thursday in Iraq said he had a premonition that he would not return from his third tour of duty.

Lance Cpl. Robert F. Eckfield Jr. of Cleveland died from injuries sustained in an explosion, the military said.

Before he left Sept. 18, Eckfield asked his mother to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He was scared about going back," Virginia Taylor told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. "He said he knew he would not return. That's when he made me promise to have him buried in Arlington if the worst happened."

Eckfield, 23, and Lance Cpl. Jared J. Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, N.Y., died from an explosion in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, the military said.

"They said he was killed when something, a shell or something, went through the building he was in," Taylor said.

Kremm died at the scene while Eckfield died at a nearby medical center, according to the Defense Department.

Both were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune.

Taylor said her son joined the Marines after graduating from high school.

"Right from the start, he wanted to do his duty," his mother said. "He went right into boot camp after graduation. I understood it. My father was a Marine, but he died in 2000. They talked about the military service."