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Vermont Marine, 24, dies in Iraq province

MONTPELIER -- A 24-year-old US Marine from Springfield died Thursday of wounds received in Iraq's Anbar Province, the Department of Defense said yesterday.

The mother of Lance Corporal Kurt E. Dechen, who declined to give her name or comment further, said the arrangements were being handled by the Marines.

Dechen was assigned to the First Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Fourth Marine Division. He was a part of Regimental Combat Team Five, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Anbar Province, west of Baghdad, is the most dangerous area in Iraq for US service members. At least 17 US soldiers and Marines have been killed in Iraq since July 27, all but two of them in Anbar Province.

Kiki Boyens of Springfield is a neighbor of the Dechens. She said she knew Kurt Dechen from the time he was born.

``He was an all around great kid, a hard worker. He wanted to do the right thing at all times," said Boyens, a former Springfield police officer who had spoken with Dechen about his becoming a police officer.

Dechen was the 22d serviceman with Vermont ties to be killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. A 23d Vermonter died of natural causes in Kuwait.

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