Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Marine killed in Iraq was US senator's nephew

Marine killed in Iraq was US senator's nephew
By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Marine Corps Cpl. Phillip Baucus, a nephew of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, was killed during combat operations in Iraq last Saturday in restive Anbar province west of Baghdad, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The Democratic senator's office issued a statement saying the family was devastated by the death of the 28-year-old Marine from Wolf Creek, Montana.

"Phillip was an incredible person, a dedicated Marine, a loving son and husband, and a proud Montanan and American. He heroically served the country he loved and he gave it his all. We loved him dearly and we'll miss him more than words can ever express," Sen. Baucus said in a statement.

The Pentagon said in a statement Phillip Baucus died "while conducting combat operations" in Anbar but did not specify the cause. Thousands of Marines are serving in Anbar province, the epicenter of a tenacious Sunni Muslim Arab insurgency and one of the most dangerous parts of Iraq.

He was assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in California, the Pentagon said.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Democratic leader, announced the Marine's death on the Senate floor and offered Sen. Baucus sympathy and condolences.

About 750 U.S. Marines have been killed in the war, which began in March 2003. The overall U.S. military death toll in the war stood at 2,578, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Vicki Allen)