Defense Dept. identifies American casualty in Iraq

The Defense Department on Monday identified Cpl. Todd McGurn as the latest American service member to die in Iraq this month.
Cpl. McGurn, a California native, died while conducting support operations for the U.S. coalition, according to a Pentagon statement. His death was tied to a “non-combat related incident” that took place in Baghdad.

Assigned to assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment in the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team,1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas, Cpl. McGurn’s death is currently under investigation by command officials, the statement says.

Confirmation of his death Monday comes days after the Pentagon verified the death of another U.S. service member in Baghdad under similar circumstances. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lee Smith, attached to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade in the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was also killed while carrying out a support mission for American and coalition forces in Iraq.

Like Cpl. McGurn, CWO2 Smith’s death on Nov. 11 was also the result of a non-combat incident, according to a Defense Department statement.
A total of 41 U.S. and coalition members have died as a result of combat and non-combat incidents since the American-backed offensive against the Islamic State began in earnest in three years ago, according to figures compiled by icasualties.org.

These most recent U.S. deaths come as the American-backed offensive against Islamic State in Iraq is coming to a close. Senior Iraqi military and government officials in Baghdad announced the official end of the terror group’s reign in the country over the weekend, shortly after Iraqi and coalition forces retook the Islamic State’s last major Iraqi redoubt of Rawa, along the Iraqi-Syrian border earlier this month.

Despite that success, officials at the Pentagon and White House are currently mulling whether to maintain a U.S. military footprint in a post-Islamic State Iraq, to conduct military training and advisory operations with the country’s security forces.