Military Connection: Marine’s Death Reclassified: By Debbie Gregory

First CasualtyMarine’s death reclassified as first casualty of “Operation Inherent Resolve.”

Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, from Memphis, Indiana, was lost in the Persian Gulf on October 1, 2014. He was serving as a Crew Chief on an MV-22B Osprey, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163, supporting the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The Osprey was attached to the USS Makin Island (LHD-8). Shortly after takeoff from the amphibious assault ship’s flight deck on October 1st, the Osprey nearly crashed. Cpl. Spears and another crew member bailed out of the aircraft and into the waters of the Persian Gulf.  The pilots were able to regain control and land safely back on the ship’s deck. Search and rescue operations were able to safely recover one crew member, but Cpl. Spears was never found. Initially, Cpl. Spears’ death was deemed by the Department of Defense (DOD) as a non-global war on terror casualty.

On October 28th, a review of the incident led to an reclassification of Cpl. Spears death as in support of the U.S. military’s efforts against the Islamic State, making Spears the first official casualty of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Unfortunately, the DOD has already identified a second casualty of Operation Inherent Resolve. Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal died on October 23rd in Baghdad in a noncombat incident. Lance Cpl. Neal was a mortarman with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, an infantry unit out of Twentynine Palms, California.

As a nation, we send our condolences to the families, friends and comrades of Cpl. Spears and Lance Cpl. Neal, and to the entire U.S. Marine Corps. Let us hope that these two Marines remain honored members of a short list.

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Military Connection: Marine’s Death Reclassified: By Debbie Gregory