Mesa Marine killed in Afghanistan fighting - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa Marine killed in Afghanistan fighting

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:26 am | Updated: 10:23 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez-Castaneda, 19, of Mesa, was one of three Marines killed Thursday supporting combat operations in Sargin in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

Search for service members from East Valley and around the country who lost their lives in combat

Lopez-Castaneda was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Attempts to reach Lopez's family Tuesday in Mesa were unsuccessful.

In an e-mail to the Tribune, Stephanie Inman of Peoria wrote that her son, Lance Cpl. Travis Simonis, was hit by shrapnel and suffered a severe concussion during the incident. Inman added that her son said that a large improvised explosive device in an alley went off while the troop was there. She wrote that her son said that he stepped on another IED and is lucky to be alive.

The version of events as described by Simonis is consistent with information from the Defense Department.

The others killed were Lance Cpl. Jacob J. Toves, 27, of Grover Beach, Calif., and Cpl. Anthony G. Mihalo, 23, of Naperville, Ill.

More than 500 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department.

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