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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 7, 1998

Accident Involving U.S. Aircraft in the Gulf

Defending America's interests is difficult, dangerous work -- and our men and women in uniform bear that burden every day. Nowhere is their service more important than in the Persian Gulf.

I was saddened to learn that one of our Marine Corps F/A-18 pilots, Lieutenant Colonel Henry G. Van Winkle II, lost his life yesterday in the skies over the Persian Gulf. Lieutenant Colonel Van Winkle was there as part of America's commitment to back up our determined diplomacy with force as we work to prevent Saddam Hussein from threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones -- and with all our men and women in uniform around the world as they serve and sacrifice every day to keep Americans safe and America strong.