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Oct 15, 2003 - Three American diplomatic personnel - John Eric Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Martin Linde, Jr., 30, of Missouri, and Mark T. Parson, 31, of New York - were killed and one was wounded at the Beit Hanoun junction in the Gaza Strip when a massive bomb
demolished an armor-plated jeep in a convoy carrying U.S. diplomats.
All three were employees of the Virginia-based DynCorp defense contracting company, and were assigned to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. They were killed while accompanying American diplomats to Gaza for meetings with Palestinian candidates seeking Fulbright scholarships for graduate studies in the United States. The explosion occurred directly beneath the driver's seat of the second of three American vehicles.
John Branchizio, a native of San Antonio, Texas, had spent nine years as a Navy SEAL in Central and South America after finishing college in Arkansas.
He was divorced and the father of an 8-year-old son. The family had been expecting him back in San Antonio next month, before being posted to Iraq.
John Linde, born in Washington, Missouri, west of St. Louis, is remembered at Washington High School as an athlete who took part in several sports. After school he joined the Marines and served for ten years in the First
Reconnaissance Unit. He was married.
Mark Parson was a native of New York.
All three were flown home for burial after a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport. U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer said the men were "killed on a mission of
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