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Marine 1st Sgt. Michael S. Barnhill

Died May 28, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

39, of Folsom, Calif.; assigned to the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group, Marine Forces Reserve, Eugene, Ore.; attached to 2nd FSSG, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed May 28 when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near Haqlaniyah, Iraq.

Marine reservist killed in Iraq explosion

Associated Press

CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — A state prison guard who was serving in the Marines Reserve was killed in Iraq after his vehicle hit an explosive device, the Department of Defense said Tuesday.

First Sgt. Michael S. Barnhill, 39, was killed Saturday near Haqlaniyah, Iraq.

Barnhill began his second tour of duty in Iraq in January and was due to come home in September, said Aaron Moxley, a family friend.

Barnhill never complained about being sent back to Iraq after serving his earlier tour, Moxley said.

“Mike Barnhill was first and foremost always a Marine,” Moxley said. “Duty and honor first.”

Barnhill worked as a prison guard for more than 15 years at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, outside of Sacramento.

“His passing has left a huge void among our correctional family,” said Warden Rosanne Campbell.

Barnhill was a graduate of Folsom High School, where he played baseball, soccer and wrestled, Moxley said.

He joined the Marine Corps in 1983 and worked as a helicopter mechanic before leaving active duty in 1989, according to a Marine Corps Web page. He joined the reserves seven months later and was assigned to various bases throughout the West.

While serving in Iraq, he was assigned to the Marine Forces Reserves 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group, based in Oregon.

Barnhill received several awards during his 22 years in the service, including the Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

He is survived by his wife, Joanna, a son, 15, and two daughters, ages 14 and 11.

In honor of Barnhill, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced.

Barnhill is the second California state prison guard to die while serving in Iraq. Sgt. David Perry of Wasco State Prison was killed in an explosion in August 2003.

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