Officials say a Marine assigned to a reserve division in Gulfport was among 14 Marines killed Wednesday by a single roadside bomb near the city of Haditha in western Iraq.
Lance Corporal Keven Waruinge was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division of Gulfport. The 22-year-old is from of Tampa, Florida and worked as a mechanic on amphibious assault vehicles.
Friends says he had transferred from Tampa to the Gulfport unit after enrolling in school at Pensacola Christian College Waruinge joined the Marine Corps reserves out of high school and had already done a stint in Iraq right after the 2003 invasion.
The parents of another Marine say their son was also killed in Wednesday's attack. Lance Corporal David Steven Stewart of Bogalusa, Louisiana was assigned to the same Gulfport Reserve Unit.
Stewart's mother describes the 24-year-old as a fun loving person who could make anybody laugh. His father says, while he's proud of his son, he feels he died in a lost cause.
"I belive then that they were doing the right thing and now I belive that he's probably died for a lost cause because I think that all these boys that are dying now are dying needlessly because we'll never win this war," Joey Stewart said.
The Marines had been traveling inside a lightly armored amphibious assault vehicle and were killed when it hit a massive roadside bomb. The vehicle flipped into the air, exploding in a giant fireball near Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Nine of the Marines were attached to the same Columbus, Ohio, company.