Obama Salutes Fallen Soldiers from San Diego

Camp Pendleton Marines were among 18 Americans honored by the President.

By Monica Dean and Michelle Wayland
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 7:54 PM PDT
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US President Barack Obama salutes as a US Army carry team moves a flag-draped coffin.

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Obama Salutes Fallen Soldiers from San Diego

Pendleton Marines and a local soldier were among 18 Americans honored.
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President Obama paid his respects to the flag-draped coffins of 18 troops killed Monday in helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, including four Marines based at Camp Pendleton and a local soldier. 

The President honored the return of the American soldiers during a surprise visit to Dover Air Force base in Delaware on Thursday morning. It has been a deadly month for Camp Pendleton Marines in Afghanistan.

President Obama's trip brought the toll of the war into sharp focus. He met with the families of the fallen troops. For Obama, it was an acknowledgment of the war's ultimate cost.

Army Staff Sergeant David Metzger lived in the South Bay. He was a member of a Special Forces team, and served four tours in Afghanistan. The soldier’s squad was pursuing a suspected drug and weapons dealer, when their helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan. Metzger was married with two kids and graduated from Mar Vista high school.

Military officials say a memorial service honoring Capt. Kyle Van De Giesen, Capt. Eric A. Jones, Capt. David S. Mitchell, and Cpl. Gregory Fleury will be held at Camp Pendleton sometime in November.

The visit came just hours after Obama signed off on new defense spending, including on the war.

"It reaffirms our commitment to our brave men and women in uniform and our wounded warriors," President Obama said.

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