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Merkley honors fallen on Memorial Day

Marine Keaton Coffey is most recent Oregon soldier killed in combat

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley on Memorial Day paid tribute to soldiers killed in combat.

'In Oregon and across America, today is the day we remember and honor the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation - and our freedom. We owe the thousands who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives to defend America a debt we can never repay. To the fallen men and women who fought valiantly for their country, and the wives, husbands, sons, and daughters they left behind: Thank you for your service to our nation,' Merkley said in a statement released by his office on Monday.

The most recent Oregon soldier to die in combat is Keaton Coffey, a 22-year-old Marine from Boring killed in Afghanistan on May 24. According to the Department of Defense, Coffey died "while conducting combat operations" in Hemland province. He deployed out of Camp Pendleton.

Family friends say Coffey was scheduled to fly home to get married this month. Tim Oakley, Coffey's principal at Damascus Christian School, said he was an ideal student and the kind of child every parent dreams of having.

KOIN Local 6 contributed to this story.