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Press Release
June 05, 2004
Three Oregon National Guard soldiers died in Iraq
Salem, OREGON -- Three Oregon National Guard soldiers died in Iraq on June 4 when they came under attack while on patrol in Baghdad. Another Oregon Guard soldier was very seriously injured after being wounded in the same attack.
Insurgents detonated improvised explosive devices in the soldiers’ patrol area and launched rocket propelled grenades as U.S. forces established a security perimeter. Two soldiers died during the attack. A third soldier later died in surgery at the 39th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad from injuries sustained in the attack.
The soldiers killed in action are:
Sgt. Justin Eyerly, age 23, of Salem, Ore., born in Salem, Ore.,
Spec. Justin Linden, age 23, of Portland, Ore., born in Belvedere, Ill.,
1st Lt. Erik S. McCrae, age 25, of Portland, Ore., born in La Grande, Ore.
The very seriously injured soldier is:
Sgt. Nathan H. Melton, age 23, of Albany, Ore., born in Metarie, La.. Melton suffered schrapnel wounds to the face, neck and upper arms.
The soldiers were assigned to D Company, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry. Originally, assigned duty station was E Company, 82nd Cavalry based out of Woodburn, Ore. While in Iraq, the soldiers were assigned to the 39th Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division. The 39th BCT is a National Guard Brigade based from Arkansas.
“This is a very, very sad day for the Oregon National Guard family,” said Brig. Gen. Raymond C. Byrne, Jr., the acting Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard. “These soldiers were doing their duty, attempting to bring security to the Iraqi people. It is a senseless loss of life and a very sad day for all of us in the Oregon National Guard."
For more information, contact the Public Affairs Office, Joint Force Headquarters of the Oregon National Guard at (503) 584-3885 or 3886 or 3917. The families do NOT want to receive direct calls from the media. Please route all requests to Major Arnold Strong at the numbers featured.
For more information contact:

Maj. Arnold V. Strong @ 503-932-2832

Kay Fristad 503-931-5179