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Aug. 11–The Department of Defense has identified a Marine killed in action Saturday in Iraq.
Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, of Mancos, Colo., died after apparently being hit by enemy small arms fire in combat, the Pentagon said in a statement late Sunday. This incident is under investigation.
He is survived by a wife and two children, according to information posted with his photo on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.
Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve along with Iraqi security forces in Iraq’s Nineveh province in the country’s north, according to an earlier statement from U.S. Central Command.
Koppenhafer was advising and accompanying the Iraqi Security Forces on a planned operation, Central Command’s statement said. Iraqi forces have recently launched new operations in the area to weed out remnants of Islamic State group.
The Defense Department in 2014 established a joint task force for Operation Inherent Resolve to deal with Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Koppenhafer enlisted in 2005 and served 10 years with Special Operations Command. He had completed three previous deployments, including to Afghanistan, as a Marine Raider and was named the critical skills operator of 2018 by the command. He earned two Bronze Stars along with many other commendations.
In addition to his military courses completed, Koppenhafer was a 2005 graduate of Adams State College with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.