Widow Haunted By Question In Sparks Marine Death

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A year after her husband was killed in one of the first battles in Iraq, Tina Cline has an 8-inch report on the battle that took his life, but few answers.

Two Marines spent three hours with her on Saturday to discuss the report that she hoped would disclose the events one year ago last Tuesday that left her the widow of Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline Jr.

But after nearly one year of investigation, the cause of his death is "indeterminable."

"It's open still," Cline said. "I'm so sick of not being told the truth right away."

What she was told was that her husband died a hero and will be awarded with a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor. Although the award was approved in January, she said the Marines told her the medals would be presented to her at a later date.

The families of the 18 Marines killed in the An Nasiriyah battle were informed Saturday and Sunday of the investigations results, said Capt. Teresa Ovalle, spokeswoman for Camp Lejeune.

"The investigation took nearly a year in order to gather and fully consider all the facts and evidence to determine how Marines were killed and wounded that day," she said.

The report given to Cline included testimonies of the commanding officer and Marines who were present in the battle during the fourth day of the war.

The commander said the convoy came under heavy fire.

The crew chief in the amphibious vehicle traveling behind the vehicle Cline was in said, "We were on a four-lane road on the left side going south when C208 (Cline's armored vehicle) got hit.

"I saw a white flash and the track flew a foot and a half off the ground. The side blew out. Every one in the back flew out of it."

Tina Cline still can't understand why she hasn't received a copy of his autopsy or the personal belongings and charred fabric found at the site.

"The word closure, it bugs me, because I don't think I'll ever have closure," she said.


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