Fort Dodge Marine dies in Iraq

Fort Dodge Marine dies in Iraq

8:15 AM

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A Marine from Fort Dodge was killed in an explosion Tuesday in Iraq, the Department of Defense said.

Sgt. Jon Bonnell Jr., 22, died in the Al Anbar province during his second stint in Iraq, family members said.

"Anything he did he put everything he had into it," said Jon Bonnell Sr., the Marine's father. "That's why he chose to become a Marine in high school."

Bonnell Jr. was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif. His father said the unit specialized in security and bomb detection.

The Marine arrived in Iraq in May and was scheduled to leave in October or November, his father said.

Bonnell Jr. graduated from Fort Dodge High School in 2003 and two years later served six months in Iraq. Afterward, the Marine assisted victims of the 2005 tsunami in southeast Asia, his father said.

Bonnell Jr. left for more bomb detection duty in Iraq in the spring, prompting renewed worry from the elder Bonnell.

"I figured he had done it one time already," Bonnell Sr. said.

"He had made it through doing the one job I wouldn't want him to do. It scared me on the second time, but I'm a proud father knowing he was doing the job he was trained to do -- be a good Marine."

Bonnell Jr. re-enlisted in the Marines earlier this year, his father said, and despite the violence and rising death toll, "he was ready. He wanted to do it."

The father said he spoke with his son around Father's Day, but was not home when the Marine called three weeks ago. Instead, the Marine's grandmother took the call. Donna Bonnell said she asked him what he was doing in Iraq.

"He said his job was looking for bombs, and I said that's very dangerous," Donna Bonnell said. "He said, 'Grandma, that's my job.' I said, 'Watch your back,' and he said, 'We all watch everybody's back."'

When asked whether her grandson would think himself a hero, she said: "I doubt that. I imagine he thought they were all heroes."

Funeral services will likely be held at First Christian Church in Fort Dodge, the grandmother said.

AP-CS-08-08-07 0104EDT

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