On Aug. 10, 2019 Marine Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, was killed after “being engaged by enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations” in support of Iraqi Security Forces according to an Aug. 11 statement from the Pentagon. The incident remains under investigation.

Officials believed he died after being ‘engaged by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations,’ but now investigators are taking a closer look, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Koppenhafer was assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Originally from Mancos, Colorado, Koppenhafer joined the Marines in 2005 and served as a MARSOC critical skills operator for the last 10 years, according to a MARSOC news release. Prior to joining MARSOC, Koppenhafer was a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, and later a scout sniper, who deployed with both the 31st and 11th Marine Expeditionary Units.

In 2009 Koppenhafer graduated the Individual Training Course as the honor graduate and was meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant during his first MARSOC deployment to Afghanistan. He went on to complete three more deployments with 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, and was selected as 2018’s Critical Skills Operator of the year.

His personal awards include: two Bronze Star Medals with “V”; two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with “V”; one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals; one Humanitarian Service Medal; two Combat Action Ribbons; four Good Conduct Medals; the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and six Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

In addition to his training as an infantry Marine, Koppenhafer was a graduate of numerous advanced schools from Mountain Survival Course; to Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE); Scout Sniper Course; MARSOF Advanced Sniper Course; Basic Airborne Course; Military Freefall; MARSOF Heliborne Insertion/Extraction Techniques Master; and Military Combatant Diver Course. Additionally, in 2005, Koppenhafer graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado with a Bachelors of Science in Business Marketing.

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Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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