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Fatalities from Ohio on the rise



Published: Mon, January 3, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



No particular area of the state took the brunt.

DAYTON (AP) -- The 30 Ohio servicemen killed in Iraq in 2004 is nearly double the previous year's total and tied Ohio for seventh among all states.

The rise in Ohio fatalities -- up from 16 in 2003 -- was similar to the increase among the entire U.S. military.

At least 848 members of the U.S. military died in Iraq in 2004, and at least 1,329 have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The Iraq war has spread grief more widely around Ohio communities than previous wars because reservists and the National Guard are more heavily involved than in the past, said Jim Forster, assistant director for the Governor's Office of Veterans' Affairs. Nearly one in five American military members killed in Iraq have come from the Guard or Reserves.

"As the casualties spread, it's not just one area," Forster said. "They are spread throughout the state of Ohio."

Nearly all of Ohio's Iraq fatalities came in combat, with the highest number, 14, caused by explosive devices.

Eight more were killed by small arms fire or rocket-propelled grenades, four died from mortar or missile attacks, and one died when his vehicle crashed during combat. Another death came in unspecified enemy action, and two people were killed in situations that weren't considered combat.

Ohio lost one soldier to injuries suffered in Afghanistan.

Listed as captured

Also, 21-year-old Army Reserve Spc. Keith "Matt" Maupin, missing since his convoy was attacked April 9 west of Baghdad, is the only U.S. Army soldier listed as captured in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Grieving friends and relatives are determined to preserve the memories of the fallen soldiers to remind people that their loved ones weren't simply anonymous casualties.

In Hamilton, a high school is fashioning a plaza of bricks that will contain a tribute to the lives of three graduates who died serving in the Army, two in Iraq.

School administrators are planning to have bricks engraved and installed to honor Sgt. Charles J. Webb and Pfc. Marlin Rockhold, killed while serving in Iraq.

Webb's sister, Teresa Webb, 34, of Butler Township in Montgomery County, has his image tattooed on her leg and shows it to anyone she talks to about the war.

"I want everybody to remember there is a face to the numbers that are killed over there," she said. "He was No. 1,117."




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