A Marine Raider stationed in Iraq died on Dec. 19 “as the result of a non-combat related incident,” the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.
Staff Sgt. Samuel D. Lecce, 32, of Jefferson, Tennessee, had been deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the push to defeat the Islamic State.
His death is under investigation, according to a press release from the Pentagon.
Lecce was part of 3rd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, according to the release.
A GoFundMe that said it was seeking money for Lecce’s wife and daughter identified the Marine as a scout sniper.
“As a Husband and Father, Sam loved more in the short period he had then most love in a lifetime,” the site read.
A Marine Corps team transferred his remains from a plane at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Friday.
The combat mission against ISIS formally ended in December 2021, but approximately 2,500 troops remained stationed in Iraq to train and advise local forces.
Although ISIS lost its last bit of territory in 2019, it has continued to launch attacks in the Middle East, particularly in northeastern Syria. The approximately 900 U.S. troops in Syria have responded by launching raids on ISIS fighters.
Correction: This article was updated Dec. 29 to reflect that there are approximately 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.