JACKSONVILLE – While the world focuses on the corona virus, other threats to our security like ISIS are still festering in parts of the globe. It was on a mission to clear a ISIS stronghold in northern Iraq that two highly decorated Unites States Marines, deployed from Camp Lejeune, were killed in Iraq over the weekend.
Gunnery Sgt. Diego Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, California, and Capt. Moises Navas, 34, of Germantown, Maryland, were supporting Iraqi Security Forces during a mission to eliminate an ISIS stronghold in north-central Iraq on Sunday when they were killed.
“[…] Both Marines were assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune. Pongo was a critical skills operator and Navas was a special operations officer. They were enlisted in the Marine Corps since 2004.
Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff through sunset on Sunday.
Pongo completed deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Navas supported unit deployments to Japan and Iraq. They were both highly decorated Marines, each receiving the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbons, Humanitarian Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, among others.
Marine Raider Regiment Commanding Officer Col. John Lynch says “Both men epitomize what it means to be a Marine Raider. They were intelligent, courageous, and loyal. They were dedicated leaders, true professionals in their craft, and willing to go above and beyond for the mission and their team. They were not just leaders today, they were both on the path to be our organizations leaders in the future.” […]”
The military is still investigating their deaths, not yet releasing how they died. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these courageous Marines. May they rest in eternal peace, and may we always be so fortunate to have such brave heroes protecting our nation.