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February 13, 2005

Sunday, January 30 2005, PittsburghLive -- One of the Marines killed in the U.S. military's deadliest crash of the Iraq war spent some of his childhood in Butler County.

Lance Cpl. Saeed Jafarkhani-Torshizi Jr., 24, who attended sixth and eighth grades in the Moniteau School District, was among the 30 Marines killed Wednesday, when a helicopter crashed in a sandstorm near Ar Rutbah. One sailor also died in the incident >>> Also see

"I talked to him 10 days ago," said Jafarkhani-Torshizi's grandmother, Gladys Travis, of Slippery Rock Borough. "He said it (Iraq) is a bad place, but they were all doing their job, protecting each other's back and would be happy to get back home."

Jafarkhani-Torshizi, who spent most of his childhood in Fort Worth, Texas, served with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is based at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.

"He was just a typical American young man. He liked music. He liked sports. He liked having a good time. He made friends easily," Gladys Travis said.

He was the only child of Rani Travis, who is staying with her mother in Slippery Rock. His father, Saeed Jafarkhani-Torshizi Sr., who is in Iran on business, has dual citizenship in Iran and the United States.

Jafarkhani-Torshizi wanted to become a police officer. He joined the Marines about 18 months ago because he felt it would give him a solid foundation for his career, his grandmother said.

Although Jafarkhani-Torshizi was proud to serve his country, his grandmother said she doesn't believe young U.S. soldiers should be fighting and dying in Iraq.

"I said before they went into Iraq that I thought it was a terrible mistake. It's just sad all these wonderful young people are going over there," she said.

A memorial service will be scheduled at Smith Funeral Home in Slippery Rock. The family is planning a burial in St. Charles Cemetery near New Bethlehem, Clarion County.

Sent by Arsalan Hedayat

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