ISIS fighters have struck U.S. troops in northern Iraq twice in three days, leaving one Marine dead and several injured.
Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, of Temecula, died Saturday in a rocket blast. The 27-year-old was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Army Col. Steve Warren spoke from Iraq about the tragedy. He started off by offering condolences to his family.
"Staff Sgt. Cardin was part of a U.S. Marine Corps detachment, located near Makhmur, Iraq, and his death reminds us of the risks that we all face here," Warren said.
They face an enemy that even craves blood from the innocent; an enemy that beheads some and burns others alive.
Warren said there are roughly 3,800 troops in Iraq, but he would not discuss how many temporary servicemembers are there.
Most are training Iraqi security forces to fight.
Cardin was there to protect them. He and nearly 200 Marines helped set up FireBase Bell last week. It is the first American base in Iraq.
Officials still will not say they are in a combat role, but it can quickly turn into that.
"If they are being attacked, they don't have to ask anybody's permission," Warren added. "They fight. They're Marines, that's what they do, and they do it really well."
Warren said on Saturday that a squad-sized ISIS unit blasted the new base with two rockets.
"One landed harmlessly the other one unfortunately did not," he explained.
The blast killed Cardin and hurt several Marines. Warren said some were in such bad shape they had to be airlifted out.
Then, on Monday morning, ISIS attacked again -- this time using small arms fire.
The Marines proved to be a deadly force, as Warren said, "Two enemies killed in that operation. The rest ran away in fear."
More Marines from Cardin's 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are moving in. One can only imagine the mission has become personal.
"Any enemy that comes into that area … they will be sorry they came," Warren added.