The Pentagon has walked back its statement that a Marine Raider who lost his life while on a mission with Iraqi forces was killed by enemy fire.
A military official told Marine Corps Times Tuesday that all possibilities are being considered in the death of the Marine commando.
Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer was killed Saturday while while advising and accompanying Iraqi security forces in Ninewah province, Iraq.
On Sunday the Pentagon announced the 35-year-old Raider was killed after being engaged by enemy small arms fire.
But on Tuesday the Pentagon updated its press release to say Koppenhafer died “after suffering fatal wounds while supporting Iraqi Security Forces.”
The incident is currently under investigation.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that military officials were investigating the possibility that Koppenhafer was killed in a friendly fire incident.
Koppenhafer was assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at the time of his death, and was supporting the American led mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria known as Operation Inherent Resolve.
Officials with the Marine Raiders described Koppenhafer as a “highly revered” operator who was selected as the Raider’s 2018 Critical Skills Operator of the Year.
Koppenhafer earned two Bronze Stars for heroism in Afghanistan and combating ISIS militants in the Middle East during his ten year stint with the Marine Raiders.
He joined the Marine Corps in 2005, and before becoming a Raider he served as a sniper and machine gunner.
ISIS fighters have slowly been making comeback in Syria as U.S. forces drawdown in the region, according to a Defense Department report. ISIS’ resurgence in Syria could have major impacts on Iraq.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.