As the death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq climbed past 2,000 last week, a local lance corporal was enjoying his last few days on leave before shipping out to Iraq. This morning, U.S. Marine Vince Schneider, of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, has returned to his company to prepare for their departure later this week. He is commander of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle, which is used to transport as many as 20 Marines at a time in combat operations. Lance Corporal Schneider grew up in Parma and is 20 years old. He will turn 21 aboard the USS Austin, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic a week or so before Thanksgiving - just before arriving in Iraq. He says the Marine service is a family tradition.
We're going to do our best to stay in touch with Lance Corporal Schneider as he is deployed and begins his assignment in Iraq. We'll bring you updates from him when they are available.