Nation & World

Two from N.C. killed in attacks in Iraq

A Marine and a sailor from North Carolina were killed Friday in the same town in western Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Kenneth J. Butler, 19, of Rowan, and Chris Thompson, a Navy medic from North Wilkesboro, died Friday about 25 miles west of Baghdad. The Pentagon released their names Monday.

Butler, a machine gunner, joined the Marines in August 2004, said 2nd Lt. Barry Edwards, a Camp Lejeune spokesman.

Thompson, a petty officer hospitalman third class assigned to the Marines, also was killed in a bomb attack near the town of Amiriyah.

Their unit was responsible for security operations around the notorious insurgent stronghold of Fallujah and a smaller nearby town called Karmah, Edwards said. The unit also trained and worked with Iraqi security forces.

When the bomb that killed him exploded, Thompson, 25, was riding in the left rear seat of an armored vehicle, his parents, Larry and Geraldine Thompson, told the Associated Press. They received the news Friday evening.

Thompson's executive officer said he was proud to go to war with Thompson, his brother, David Thompson said.

"He knew if something happened, he'd take care of them," David Thompson said. "If things were worst, he'd be the first one to step up."

David Thompson also is a Navy hospital corpsman assigned to the Marines.

When Thompson came home from his first combat tour, he was asked how he could manage to insert an IV in someone's arm on a battlefield while bullets were crackling by and bombs were exploding.

"He said, 'All I can tell you is I haven't missed yet. When you've got somebody dying, you've got to do what you can do,"' Larry Thompson told the AP.

During his first tour, from March 2004 to October 2004, Thompson helped four Marines who were hurt when a bomb exploded beside the Humvee in front of his. A fifth Marine, his best friend, died in his arms, the AP said.

At home, he talked to his father about still seeing the faces of those who had died.

Efforts to reach Butler's parents were unsuccessful.

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