Marine pilot from Minnesota killed in Iraq

War in Iraq
War in Iraq
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(AP) - The body of a Marine helicopter pilot who grew up in Minnesota was recovered earlier this week in Iraq. Capt. Nate J. Doring was the 38th person with Minnesota ties to have died in connection with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 31-year-old Apple Valley native was on a maintenance test flight in his AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing when it went down Saturday in the volatile Anbar province. Two Marines were killed, the military said.

Officials have said hostile fire was not suspected as the cause of the crash. The Department of Defense confirmed the identities of the victims on Thursday. Doring's uncle, Rich Gamble of Inver Grove Heights, said the family was told Saturday.

He said Doring was raised a devout Lutheran and attended high school in Apple Valley or Rosemount - he wasn't sure which. The pilot's parents and sister still live in the Twin Cities area, Gamble said.

He said Doring had served two tours of combat duty in Iraq. His unit returned to the United States in April, but he decided to extend his tour in a noncombat role until his wife, Lisa, also a Marine officer, finished her tour in the fall.

"The impression that the family was given was that it was not a combat mission in any way," Gamble said.

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The couple lived on a horse farm in California when they weren't deployed, he said. The Defense Department said Doring was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Gamble said that as a young man, Doring was very focused.

"He did what he did with a purpose," he said. "Things did not happened to him, necessarily. He decided where he went."

He said Doring joined the Marines right out of college with the intention of becoming a pilot. "I don't think it started out as a helicopter pilot, he just wanted to fly."

He said Doring had a young son from his first marriage who lived with his mother on the East Coast.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)