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Began March 20, 2003. In all, more than 4,470 troops have been killed, 305 of them with ties to Washington, 2 in 2011. (Updated Sept. 2, 2011)
(Information compiled from military and media.) 4,454 to die: May 22, 2011 – Army Sgt. 1st Class Clifford E. Beattie, 37, of Medical Lake, died in Baghdad of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. A 1992 grad of Medical Lake High, Beattie served 17 years and was on his third tour in Iraq. He had participated in a memorial run to honor fallen soldiers earlier on the day he was killed. His family said Beattie, the father of two children, loved Army life. "This is what he wanted to do," said his mother, Rhonda Beattie. "When he left the first time, I said 'Cliff why are you doing this?' And he said 'Mom, first off, it's my job. But secondly, I'm doing it for you and dad, for my sisters, for my wife and for my kids. I want you to have a safe place to be.'" 4,440th to die: March 21, 2011 – Army Cpl. Brandon Hocking, 24, Seattle, died from wounds suffered in a roadside bomb attack in As Samawah Iraq, ten days before his scheduled return home. He was a small-arms repair specialist and a convoy gunner with the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga. Married, with two children, Hocking had lived in Federal Way and attended Sacajawea Middle School in eighth and ninth grades, Federal Way High School and Decatur High School in tenth grade and Decatur in twelfth grade, according to the Federal Way School District. He earned a GED in 2004. He joined the Army in 2005 and was serving in his second deployment. In 2010, Hocking told a military writer about his work fixing weapons for the Army. "My favorite part about this job is learning different weapons systems," he said. "There's always something new to learn so I can be better at my job." His sister Brianna recalled communicating with Hocking via Facebook just weeks before his death. "I told him to stay safe, and he told me, 'Don't worry. I love you, and I will be home soon,'" she said.