Pentagon IDs US sailor killed in Iraq

Pentagon IDs US sailor killed in Iraq
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The Pentagon has identified a sailor who was killed Thursday in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq.

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The sailor was Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, Calif., according to a Pentagon statement Friday.

“The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the sailor we lost," Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, said in a separate press release from the Navy.

Finan was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3.

He was serving in an advisory capacity to the Iraqi coalition force supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the Navy said.

Finan’s death was the fourth U.S. combat death in Iraq since June 2014, when U.S. troops first redeployed to the country in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

It comes days after Iraqi forces, with U.S. backing, launched a long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul in northern Iraq from ISIS. It's unclear whether Finan was part of that operation.

More than 100 U.S. troops are embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces pressing toward Mosul. Hundreds more are supporting the offensive with airstrikes and artillery fire, intelligence, logistics and other support.

There are more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq aiding Iraqi forces. U.S. officials say American troops will not have a combat role or mission in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday the death is a reminder that U.S. troops remain in harm’s way despite being in a supporting role.

“It's a reminder that our people who are participating in the counter-[ISIS] campaign, whether they be flying aircraft or working with the Iraqi Security Forces and the other forces at enabling their consistent advances of the kind that we see in the region of Mosul today are in harm's way,” Carter told reporters traveling with him to Turkey.