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Marine Lance Cpl. Ray A. Spencer II

Died April 16, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Ridgecrest, Calif.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died April 16 in Anbar province, Iraq, as a result of a non-hostile incident.

‘Non-hostile’ Iraq death investigated

Staff report

Officials are investigating the April 16 death in Iraq of a Hawaii-based Marine.

Lance Cpl. Ray A. Spencer II, 20, of Ridgecrest, Calif., died as a result of a “non-hostile incident” in Anbar province, according to the Defense Department. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, out of Kaneohe Bay.

The military has not said how Spencer died. A friend told Spencer’s widow that her husband died from a gunshot wound, according to a report in the Bakersfield Californian.

“They’ve told us probably as much as they’ve told you,” Athena Spencer told the newspaper. “It was on base, so it wasn’t combat.”

Ray Spencer, a rifleman, joined the Corps in June 2006 and had just deployed to Iraq for the second time in April. His first tour was from August 2007 to February 2008, according to a Marine Corps Base Hawaii statement released Tuesday.

He graduated in 2006 from Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, Calif., where he was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the Californian reported. A former instructor remembered Spencer as charismatic and “a natural leader.”

“He had a great smile and a great sense of humor that probably got him into trouble at times,” George Anderson told the newspaper.

A dignified transfer ceremony took place Sunday night at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Marine was on 2nd tour of Iraq

The Associated Press

Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructor George Anderson said Ray A. Spencer II had a great sense of humor, blended with natural leadership.

“He was a very charismatic young man,” Anderson said. “He could get his students to follow him into the jaws of death, which they would have ignored from other students.”

Spencer, 20, of Ridgecrest, Calif., was shot in the chest and killed April 16 in a non-combat incident in Anbar province; the circumstances were being investigated.

He was a 2006 high school graduate and was assigned to Kaneohe Bay. This was his second Iraq deployment. His first was from August 2007 to February 2008.

“Ray was committed to be a Marine from the first day he walked into my class,” said retired Lt. Cmdr. Jim Selle, who also was a JROTC teacher. “He always had a smile on his face.

He is survived by his wife, Athena. The couple were introduced by friends via phone and e-mail.

“He’s just a genuinely sweet person,” Athena said. “He respects women and people in general. He’s never the type of guy to be rude. He was so polite and laid back, never aggressive.”

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