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DOD identifies two Marines killed trying to eliminate ISIS stronghold

The Department of Defense released the identities of two Marines killed Sunday by enemy forces in a mission to eliminate an ISIS stronghold in north-central Iraq.

Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, Calif. and Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, from Germantown, Md. were killed while on a mission with Iraqi forces in the Makmur Mountains, south of Erbil.

“The forces trekked through mountainous terrain and eliminated four hostile ISIS fighters who were barricaded in the caves.  The recovery took approximately six hours,” Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the OIR coalition, said in a statement.

Both Marines were assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The battalion’s Commanding Officer, Col. John Lynch offered his condolences to Gunnery Sgt. Pongo and Capt. Navas’ families.

“The loss of these two incredible individuals is being felt across our organization, but it cannot compare to the loss that their families and teammates are experiencing,” Col. Lynch said in a statement. “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.”

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