A US Marine from Colorado who had been serving in Iraq was killed in combat over the weekend — just days after the Pentagon warned of an “ISIS resurgence,” according to defense officials.
Initially, the fatality was announced by Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) in a statement on August 10.
Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, died Saturday “after being engaged by enemy small arms fire,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Pentagon has identified the U.S. service member who was killed during a combat op in Iraq, as Gunnery Sergeant Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, of Mancos, Colorado, assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
— F. Jeffery (@Natsecjeff) August 12, 2019
He was advising an Iraqi Security Force mission in Ninewah Province — in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, a US-led military campaign to counter ISIS — when the incident occurred.
Koppenhafer’s death comes just days after Pentagon officials reported a resurgence in ISIS-related activity in Iraq and Syria.
“Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,” defense officials said. His death “is under investigation.”
Koppenhafer hailed from the Colorado town of Mancos, which is about 30 miles west of Durango. He joined the Marines in 2005 — first serving as a machine gunner and later as a scout sniper, according to KUSA.
Over the course of his military career, Koppenhafer won several medals — including two Bronze Stars and a Humanitarian Service medal. He was dubbed MARSOC’s Critical Skills Operator of the Year in 2018. The Marine reportedly leaves behind a wife and two children.