The deadliest year for U.S. forces in the nine-year war in Afghanistan claimed the life of a Hawaii-based Marine last week.
First Lt. Scott J. Fleming, 24, of Marietta, Ga., died Friday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, the Pentagon said yesterday.
Fleming was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, at Kaneohe Bay. About 1,000 Marines and sailors with the unit deployed to southern Afghanistan in May.
He was serving as commander of Kilo Company’s 1st Platoon.
CBS Atlanta said Fleming’s unit was conducting pre-election security operations when the Marines came under small-arms fire and Fleming was struck in the neck.
He was taken to Camp Leatherneck, where he was pronounced dead, CBS reported.
He is survived by wife Brandi, who is in Hawaii; father Joseph; mother Joanne; and sister Andrea.
Contacted in Georgia, family members declined to comment.
"We’re still numb," Joseph Fleming told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fleming had a long discussion with his son about going to Afghanistan and what could happen.
"He said, ‘I may not come home,’" the father was quoted as saying.
The Marine officer had e-mailed family about a week before he was killed and told them he was in a firefight, some Marines were wounded and that his platoon would be going back into the area, the Journal-Constitution said.
Scott Fleming began his Marine training after he graduated from LaGrange College with a degree in education, the newspaper said. He married about a year ago and wanted to make the Corps a career.
The Pentagon said militants tried to disrupt Saturday’s parliamentary elections with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade attacks.
So far this year, 312 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, surpassing the 267 killed last year.
The Hawaii Marines are in and around Nawa district in central Helmand, an area of about 90,000 people.
Another Kilo Company Marine, Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, 23, died in July when he was swept away in the Helmand River.
A third Marine, Pfc. Jake W. Suter, 18, died May 29 while supporting combat operations.
In a September newsletter to families, the Hawaii battalion said that at the halfway mark of the deployment, it had conducted 2,710 foot patrols and 524 vehicles patrols in Nawa district.