The Department of Defense announced on December 12, 2013 the death a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Rodriguez, 19, of Fairhaven, Mass., died Dec. 11, 2013 while “conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan”, according to the release.
He was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Pentagon refused to release specific details of his death. For example: Was he shot, blown up or what? Only that he was killed during combat operations. What type of combat operation – official refuse to say.
According to the USMC website the mission of a combat engineer involves the following:
“Enhance the mobility, counter mobility, and survivability of the Marine Division through combat and limited general engineering support. The Combat Engineer Battalion performs the following tasks:
- Plan, organize and conduct mounted/dismounted deliberate breaching operations at the Company level.
- Plan, organize and conduct mounted/dismounted deliberate breaching operations at the company, battalion and regimental level.
- Plan, organize and employ expedient and deliberate demolitions.
- Plan, organize and conduct route/area sweeping operations.
- Plan, organize and construct explosive and non-explosive obstacle systems.
- Plan, organize and construct hasty and deliberate protective and tactical minefields.
- Plan, organize and construct a point minefield.
- Plan, organize and construct fighting and protective positions.
- Plan, organize and employ force protection measures.
- Plan, organize and provide missions essential water and electrical support.
- Construct and maintain limited combat roads and trails in support of Division operations”
Pentagon officials referred reporters with specific questions to contact the 1st Marine Division Public Affairs office during duty hours at 702-725-8766 and after hours duty hours at 760-468-9895 – where officials simply read to you from the Pentagon press release.
It should be noted that Helmand is one of the world’s largest opium producing regions in the world, responsible for around 75% of the world’s total production (source: Where Poppy is King http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smh.com.au%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fwhere-the-poppy-is-king%2F2007%2F03%2F04%2F1172943270271.html%3Fpage%3Dfullpage%23contentSwap2&date=2010-02-03).
Helmand is a hotbed of Taliban activity. See video: Live leaks Marines battle Taliban in Helmand http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=679_1386769129
See related video: Marine killed in Afghanistan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idcmPrZ7gpU
It should be mentioned that Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Rodriguez was decorated. According to information in his service record:
“Rodriguez has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Medal-International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan.”