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Marine Col. Michael R. Stahlman

Died October 5, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

45, of Chevy Chase, Md.; assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Oct. 5 from injuries sustained in a July 31 nonhostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq.

Col. dies from July nonhostile incident in Iraq

Staff report

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The Pentagon on Tuesday announced the death of Marine Col. Michael R. Stahlman, who died Sunday from injuries stemming from a nonhostile incident July 31 in Iraq.

Stahlman, 45, of Chevy Chase, Md., served as the staff judge advocate at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he also was director of legal services, according to a statement released Wednesday by Jenny Haskamp, a Combat Center spokeswoman. The desert base is also home to the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command.

No details were readily available about the incident, which officials said is under investigation.

Stahlman, a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, had completed naval flight officer training and training in the F-4 fighter program before he went to law school under the Corps’ Funded Law Program, according to the Combat Center. In 1993, he received his law degree from California Western School of Law. He later received a master’s degree from the Judge Advocate’s School in Charlottesville, Va., where he later served as an instructor and vice chair of the school’s Criminal Law Department.

His personal military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.

Last year, Stahlman served as an Article 32 investigation hearing officer at Camp Pendleton in one of the cases arising from the Nov. 19, 2005, deaths of Iraqi civilians in Hadithah.

Fallen colonel ‘excelled at everything’

The Associated Press

A Naval Academy classmate of Col. Michael R. Stahlman said he set tremendously high standards for himself.

“He excelled at everything — academics, athletics — and he made it look easy. Whatever we did, he was number one, and he didn’t even break a sweat,” Joe Matza said.

Stahlman, 45, of Chevy Chase, Md., died Oct. 5 of injuries from a non-hostile incident July 31 in Anbar province. He was assigned to Twentynine Palms.

“He had an outstanding reputation,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stewart at the U.S. Army Legal Center at the Judge Advocate General’s School.

Stahlman grew up around the world — his father worked for the U.S. Foreign Service — and admired the Marines who guarded U.S.


He was a 1985 graduate of the Naval Academy who majored in political science. In 1993, he got a law degree from the California Western School of Law.

“He was a very motivated, great student — very smart and very patriotic. He was someone you knew was going to devote his life to the military,” said Rick Camacho, 46, another academy classmate.

He is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and two daughters: Piper, 7, and MacKenna, 11.

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