Marine Lance Cpl. Lawrence R. Philippon of West Hartford was killed by small arms fire May 8, 2005 in Al Anbar province in western Iraq. He was 22 years old.
Lance Cpl. Lawrence R. Philippon, a 22-year-old West Hartford man who carried the Marine Corps flag at President Reagan's funeral, died fighting insurgents in western Iraq as part of a major offensive along the Syrian border, military officials said Tuesday.
The 2nd Division launched an assault late Saturday aimed at flushing out insurgents who have made the region near the Syrian border a safe haven for followers of militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
As many as 100 militants have been killed since Operation Matador, one of the largest American offensives in Iraq in six months, began in Qaim, 200 miles west of Baghdad.
At least three U.S. Marines have been killed in the ongoing offensive, which involves more than 1,000 Marines, sailors and soldiers backed by helicopter gunships and fighter jets.
News reports say one of the Marines was killed by an insurgent who was hiding in a basement and fired through a floor grate as the Marine entered a house. Edwards said he did not know if that Marine was Philippon.
Raymond Philippon, Lawrence's father, said representatives of the Marine Corps who came to his West Hartford home Tuesday could not provide him any details about his son's death. The Marines gave his wife, Leesa, a gold star to honor her loss.
His son, a Conard High School graduate, joined the Marine Corps two years ago, and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment in January, Edwards said. Philippon had asked for duty in Iraq after being chosen while in basic training for the Marine Corps Color Guard in Washington, D.C. Family members say Philippon carried the Marine Corps flag at the state funeral for President Reagan last June.
Philippon's official duties at the time of his death, Edwards said, were "protecting the Syrian border and conducting security operations to prevent insurgents from crossing the border and setting up strongholds in Iraqi cities."
Philippon had received the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, Edwards said.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Tuesday ordered state flags flown at half-staff until Philippon is buried.
"We are all indebted to him for his service, and reminded of the sacrifices made by a great many men and women serving in our armed forces," Rell said in a prepared statement.
Philippon, a former hockey player at Conard, is the 25th service member or civilian from the state to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2002. His parents, who also have an 18-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son, said they plan to bury Lawrence in Arlington National Cemetery.
Wire reports are included in this story.