The Pentagon has announced that three sailors from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station died Friday in an explosion in Iraq. The three were members of Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit 11, the Navy bomb squad. Killed were Chief Petty Officer Gregory J. Billiter, 36, from Oak Harbor; Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis R. Hall, 24, from Burley, Idaho; and Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph A. McSween, 26, from Georgia. They died during combat operations outside Kirkuk. Their deaths - they are the first from Whidbey NAS to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom - along with the Saturday sniper killing of Fort Lewis Stryker Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams, 25, of California, bring to 167 the number of service members with Washington ties killed in Iraq, 20 this year. See SW's 2007 list, updated last Thursday.