HAGERSTOWN — The remains of a U.S. Marine from Washington County who was killed in combat on New Year’s Day in Afghanistan were returned Monday afternoon to the United States.
The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office in Dover, Del., said the remains of Lance Cpl. Maung Htaik, 20, of Hagerstown, were returned to Dover Air Force Base.
Htaik died Saturday in Helmand province while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a news release. Htaik was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to the release.
The Department of Defense did not offer information about the cause of his death.
“RIP Lance Corporal Moung Htaik,” fellow Marine Joey Durigon posted on his Facebook page. “Not only were you a good Marine, but you were a great friend. Please keep the Htaik family in your prayers. I miss you brother!”
Nobody answered the door Monday at the Youngstoun Drive home address for Htaik that was provided by a family acquaintance. A phone message left for Htaik’s father was not returned as of Monday evening.
Smithsburg High School Principal Karim Shortridge said Htaik transferred there from a school in Frederick County, Md., during his junior year. According to Herald-Mail archives, Htaik was on the school’s distinguished honor roll in 2008, the year he graduated.
Shortridge said he was not the principal when Htaik was a student, and that teachers who knew Htaik did not wish to be interviewed Monday.
Htaik is believed to be the first service member from Washington County killed in the war in Afghanistan. At least one county resident was killed in the war in Iraq while working for a security contractor.
Ryan Brandt Young of Halfway, a former Navy SEAL, was killed Sept. 7, 2005, by a roadside bomb that destroyed the armored vehicle in which he was riding. Young, 32, a graduate of Williamsport High School, was working for a security contractor in Iraq when he was killed.