Two sailors from Whidbey killed in Iraq

Two sailors from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island died Tuesday in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced today.

Chief Petty Officer Patrick L. Wade, 38, of Key West, Fla., and Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey L. Chaney, 35, of Omaha, Neb. were killed as a "result of enemy action while conducting combat operations in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq" on July 17, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The two sailors were assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, an elite bomb squad that's based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

In all, five sailors from Whidbey Island have died in Iraq this year.

The air station lost its first sailors to the four-year-old war on April 6, when three members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 were killed when their Humvee was hit by a rocket while on patrol in Hawijah, Iraq.

Members of the unit's Detachment 1 — EOD Chief Petty Officer Gregory John Billiter, 36, Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Adam McSween, 26, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis Ralph Hall, 24 — died in the attack.

EODMU-11 is an explosive ordnance unit that disarms bombs and explosive devices.

Members of the unit have earned repeated praise for heroic or meritorious achievements while deployed for the Iraq war.

Most recently, five sailors from the air station were awarded the Bronze Star medal on June 21 for disarming bombs during their deployments in 2006 and early 2007.

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