HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A marine from Connecticut was killed in combat Friday in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday.

Cpl. Jordan C. Pierson, 21, of Milford, died during combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in Plainville.

No additional information was immediately available.

Pierson was the second marine from the 25th Marine Regiment to be killed in three weeks. Lance Cpl. Kurt Dechen, 24, of Springfield, Vt., was on a foot patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, on Aug. 3 when his unit came under fire and he was shot.

Thirty-two servicemen and women and civilians with Connecticut ties have died since March 2002 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pierson and another serviceman were hit with shrapnel earlier this year after a grenade exploded near them, The Hartford Courant reported in May.

Roberto Diaz, of Manchester, said he trained with Pierson in California and last saw him nine months ago.

“He was an excellent marine,” he said. “He did his job to the fullest.”

Milford Mayor James Richetelli said he met Saturday with Pierson’s mother and father and other family members at the parents’ home. “The family is in shock and is trying to process this,” he said.

Not until at least Monday will family members be available to speak to the media and public about Pierson, he said.

A tree in front of City Hall that was lit to honor servicemen and women will be darkened until after Pierson’s funeral, Richetelli said. Lights on the tree were lit the day the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Pierson has been the only U.S. soldier from Milford killed in the war, Richetelli said.

“This is new for us, too,” he said.

The mayor ordered flags at half staff, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell also ordered flags to be lowered until Pierson’s funeral. Arrangements for the funeral have not been made final, the governor’s office said.

AP-ES-08-26-06 1933EDT

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