2004 Forward Operating Base Marez bombing
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|Attack on Forward Operating Base Marez|
|Date||December 21, 2004|
|Target||Forward Operating Base Marez|
|Deaths||14 U.S. soldiers |
4 U.S. civilians
4 Iraqi soldiers
|72 (including 51 U.S. soldiers)|
|Perpetrators||Army of Ansar al-Sunna|
The Forward Operating Base Marez bombing took place on December 21, 2004. Fourteen U.S. soldiers, four U.S. citizen Halliburton employees, and four Iraqi soldiers allied with the U.S. military were killed in an attack on a dining hall at the Forward Operating Base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul.
The Pentagon reported that 72 other personnel were injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest and the uniform of the Iraqi security services. The Islamist insurgent group Army of Ansar al-Sunna (partly evolved from Ansar al-Islam) released an internet message taking credit for the attack. The bomber entered the mess tent and approached a large group of U.S. soldiers, detonating himself and killing 22 people. It was the single deadliest suicide attack on U.S. soldiers, with 14 soldiers killed.
Weeks before the attack, soldiers from the base intercepted a document that mentioned a proposal for a massive "Beirut"-type attack on U.S. forces. The reference was apparently to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing in which 241 U.S. service members were killed. Following the discovery of the papers, commanders at the base — which is about three miles south of Mosul and is used by both U.S. troops and the interim Iraqi National Guard forces — ratcheted up already tight security. Ansar al-Sunnah said the suicide bomber was a 24-year-old man from Mosul who worked at the base for two months and had provided information about the base to the group.
- Fallen soldiers from 133rd Engineer Battalion (Maine); Sergeant Thomas Dostie of Somerville, Maine, Sergeant Lynn R. Poulin Sr. of Freedom, Maine
- Fallen soldier from 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment "Bobcats", Ft Lewis, WA); SSG Julian S. Melo
- Fallen soldiers from Deuce Four Infantry (1/24- Ft Lewis, WA); CPT William Jacobsen, SSG Robert Johnson, SPC Johnathon Castro, PFC Lionel Ayro
- Fallen Soldiers from C276 Eng (Virginia National Guard, West Point, VA); Sgt Nick Mason, Sgt David Ruhren
- Fallen Soldier from 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment; SSG Darren Vankomen
- Fallen Sailor from NMCB-7; Chief Petty Officer Joel Baldwin