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IRAQ ACCIDENT 3 Ohio Marines among dead in chopper crash



Published: Fri, January 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



One of the dead was scheduled to return home next week.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Three Marines from Ohio were among 31 who died when their helicopter crashed this week in a desert sandstorm in Iraq.

Killed were Cpl. Richard Gilbert Jr., 28, of Dayton, Lance Cpl. Jonathan Edward Etterling, 22, of Wheelersburg, and Sgt. Michael Finke Jr., 28, of Wadsworth, family members said.

Their CH-53E Super Stallion crashed Wednesday, killing 30 Marines and one Navy sailor aboard.

Gilbert had been scheduled to return home next week after being in Iraq since August, said his mother, Helen Gilbert.

"The last time I talked to him was Monday," she told The Associated Press. "He was tired and anxious to get a shower."

Etterling's parents said they were informed by the military Wednesday that their son was aboard the helicopter.

'My heart just fell'

"I went in to change clothes and when I saw the Marines in the house, I prayed, 'Let him be wounded, let him be wounded,'" his father, William Etterling, told the Portsmouth Daily Times. "My heart just fell."

Finke, a Marine for nine years, had told his family a day earlier that he was headed on a special mission.

Finke's stepmother said she can't find justification for the war that claimed his life.

"I'm sure there are many other parents out there that don't think there is, either," Nadine Finke told Cleveland television station WKYC.




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