MILITARY

The Department of Defense on Tuesday identified the two Marines who were killed while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Marines died Sunday while supporting Iraqi Security Forces in north central Iraq. The incident is under investigation.

The Marines were identified as Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, California, and Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, of Germantown, Maryland.

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

“On behalf of the Marine Raider Regiment and all of (Marine Special Operations Command), our most sincere condolences go out to the families of Gunnery Sgt. Pongo and Capt. Navas,” said Marine Col. John Lynch, Marine Raider Regiment commander, in a statement. “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.”

Lynch said the men epitomized what it means to be a Marine Raider — 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,” he said. “They were not just leaders today they were both on the path to be our organizations leaders in the future.”

Lynch said that both were dedicated family men. Navas leaves behind a wife, daughter and three young sons, and Pongo leaves behind a wife and daughter.

“The hearts of the entire Marine Raider community are with the Pongo and Navas families as we mourn this tremendous loss,” he said. “We will do everything we can to lift up and support our grieving families in order to honor the incredible lives and the ultimate sacrifices of Gunnery Sgt. Pongo and Capt. Navas.”

The Operation Inherent Resolve mission is currently led by the III Corps headquarters from Fort Hood. Over 250 troops from III Corps deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in September 2019 for a yearlong deployment to head up the ground forces coalition against the Islamic State group.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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