Service in Ohio Honors

16 Killed in Iraq

CLEVELAND -- On the stage sat a helmet, a pair of worn soldier's boots and a folded American flag. In the audience Monday night were thousands honoring 16 fallen Marines and their hard-hit Ohio battalion.

"Our own band of brothers," Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) said during an hour-long memorial service of prayers, bagpipes intoning "Amazing Grace" and montages of the troops from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment who died in the past two weeks in Iraq.

Robert Derga, whose son Cpl. Dustin Derga, a member of the battalion, was killed in May, said: "We're just overwhelmed. It's good to see the community support. It's what Dustin fought for."

Lt. Col. Kevin Rush thanked the audience in Cleveland's International Exposition Center for its support on behalf of the battalion. "While it is fitting for a moment of silence," Rush said, "I believe a round of applause for all of our fighting forces is a little more appropriate."

Thousands stood, clapped and cheered for several seconds before the lights went dark and the names and photos of the fallen Marines were flashed on a screen while classical music played. Many of the Marines' relatives were moved to tears.

In Ashland, about 70 miles southwest of Cleveland, more than 300 people gathered at a church for the funeral of another battalion member, Lance Cpl. Christopher P. Lyons, 24, of Shelby.

Lyons and a fellow Marine from the unit died July 28 when Columbus-based Lima Company was attacked in Cykla. The company lost nine other members last week alongside five other Marines and an interpreter in the deadliest roadside bombing since U.S. troops invaded Iraq. Two days earlier, five Ohio Marines were killed in an ambush.

Wildfire in Washington

Burns 35,000 Acres

POMEROY, Wash. -- Firefighters strengthened their grip on a 35,000-acre wildfire that had whipped through canyons, wheat fields and forestland in southeastern Washington, destroying dozens of houses and cabins.

Fire crews had good lines around three sides of the fire but remained concerned about heavy timber in the Umatilla National Forest to the south.

"Within the forest, it was a true firestorm," said Clay Barr, director of emergency management for Garfield County.

More than 100 structures were believed to have burned, including 20 full-time homes.

-- From News Services