Marine From South Mississippi Dies In Combat

The first U.S. Marine killed by enemy fire in the War with Iraq is from South Mississippi. The Pentagon says Second Marine Lieutenant Therrel Shane Childers of Saucier was killed in action in Iraq Friday.

Childers, 30, was a 1990 graduate of Harrison Central High School. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Childers was the U.S. Marine was the first to die in action.

He died in the sweep on the Rumeila oil field in southern Iraq, where acrid smoke blackened the sky. Childers' company was advancing on a burning oil pump station when he was shot in the stomach, a comrade said.

President Bush was informed of the death early Friday and expressed his regrets. U.S. Central Command gave no other details. Childers was a member of The Citadel Class of 2001.

He was an active duty Marine and attended classes as a day student in the MECEP program. MECEP stands for Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program.

While at The Citadel, Childers was a French major, Dean's List student and active in the Marine Raiders.

"As a MECEP, Therrel Childers served as an excellent role model for our cadets," said Citadel President Maj. Gen. John S. Grinalds, USMC retired. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time."

Childers was described as good student by Harrison Central High principal James Cater. Cater taught Childers geography. In the 10th grade, Childers was in the Jr. ROTC. He was active in the Art Club and VICA, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.