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Thirty Marines, 1 Sailor Die in Helicopter Crash

Camp Fallujah, Iraq - Thirty Marines and one Sailor from the 1st Marine Division and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing of the I Marine Expeditionary Force died early this morning when their CH-53E "Super Stallion" helicopter crashed near Ar Rutbah in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stabilization operations.

All Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the I Marine Expeditionary Force mourn the tragic loss of our brothers in arms.

A recovery team is at the crash site, and the cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

"While we mourn the loss of these heroes, we will honor their sacrifice by continuing our mission to bring democracy to the people of Iraq," said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force. "To the families of these brave men, our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to you at this most difficult of times."

Release #050126r

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