Naval hospitalman based in Md. killed in Iraq

By A Sun Reporter

A 20-year-old Naval hospitalman assigned to the Bethesda Naval Hospital was killed in action in Iraq, the Navy announced today.

Hospitalman Geovani Padilla-Aleman, of South Gate, Calif., died Sunday in Anbar province. As a hospitalman, Padilla-Aleman served as a first-responder to medical emergencies on the battlefield.

He was permanently assigned to Bethesda Naval Hospital, USNS Comfort Detachment, and operationally assigned to the Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment, 2/28 Brigade Combat Team.

Today's announcement came as the U.S. military reported the deadliest day in almost three months for American service members in the Iraq war. Ten U.S. troops died, including five Marines killed in a vehicle accident in western Iraq. Two Marines and a sailor were still missing after the truck overturned near Asad air base.

U.S. casualties had appeared to be on the decline, with last month the least deadly for American troops since February 2004. But 14 troops have already died in the first three days of April -- nearly half the number who died in all of March.

As of Monday, 2,344 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an AP count.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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