The Pentagon said yesterday that five U.S. troops died in five separate incidents in the Persian Gulf, including two killed by M-16 gunshots.
The deaths raise to 52 the number of U.S. troops killed in and around Saudi Arabia since the start of Operation Desert Shield last August. Another 41 soldiers assigned to Desert Shield have died in accidents outside the gulf area.
Of the 52 deaths inside the theater of military operations, 43 were accidental, one was suicide, six were from natural causes and a determination is pending on two.
Lt. Col. Stuart Wagner, a Pentagon spokesman, said few details were immediately available on the circumstances of the latest incidents, which are being investigated.
Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony D. Stewart, 19, of Yonkers, N.Y., died from a wound inflicted by the accidental discharge of another Marine's M-16 rifle on Saturday, Wagner said. The victim was from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based at Kaneohe, Hawaii. The Marine Corps is investigating the incident.
In a separate incident yesterday, an Army second lieutenant died of what the Pentagon termed an apparent M-16 gunshot wound. No foul play is suspected but the cause of the death is still under investigation, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Army victim, whose identity was being withheld until his relatives are notified, was assigned to the 426th Supply and Transportation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky. No other details were released.
Separately, an Army soldier assigned to an air defense unit in the gulf died Sunday of an apparent heart attack in a dining facility in Bahrain. No details were released, and the victim's name was being withheld pending notification of relatives.
Also, an Army soldier from the 18th Airborne Corps was killed Saturday when he was pulled into a water pump at a water desalination plant, Wagner said. The victim was identified as Sgt. Donald Danielson, who was assigned to the 79th Water Support Company, 419th Quartermaster Battalion, 507th Combat Support Group, 1st Corps Support Command of the 18th Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
And on Sunday a sailor was killed in a two-car accident. Wagner said he had no details on the accident, but a North Carolina newspaper reported that the victim was Jay Thomas, 25, a Navy aircraft technician from Chapel Hill, N.C. The Chapel Hill Newspaper said the Navy told Thomas's family that the accident occurred Sunday morning near Jiddah, the Saudi Arabian Red Sea port city.