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Marine Master Sgt. John E. Hayes

Died July 8, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

36, of Middleburg, Fla.; assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died July 8 at FOB Fiddlers Green, Afghanistan.

E-8, E-3 killed in Afghan fighting

Staff report

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Two North Carolina-based Marines were killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, according to a Marine news release.

Master Sgt. John Hayes, 36, of Middleburg, Fla., and Lance Cpl. Roger Hager, 20, of Gibsonville, N.C., died supporting combat operations in Helmand province, where about 4,000 Marines and sailors with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade launched a major offensive earlier this month.

Hayes and Hager were assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, at Camp Lejeune, according to the release. It’s unclear if they died in the same incident.

Hayes — survived by his wife, two daughters and a son — was the company’s operations chief. He joined the Corps in July 1991 and served a tour in Iraq in 2003 and again in 2007. He also supported operations in Kosovo and Albania in 1998 and Kuwait in 1991.

Hager joined the Corps in August 2007 to honor his grandfather, who served in the Army, his mother told the Times-News of Burlington, N.C. Elaine Hager said her son was a “happy-go lucky” man who enjoyed the outdoors, computers and video games.

She told the Times-News that Marine officials said her son died when the vehicle he was in hit a “homemade bomb.”

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