Kirkland Marine dies in Iraq

Last month, the war in Iraq claimed the life of another young Kirkland man. Marine Lance Cpl. Shane Clanin Swanberg, 24, died in a mortar attack at his base in Ramadi, Iraq. Swanberg, who had been in Iraq for just 10 days, was the only fatality in the Sept. 15 attack.

Swanberg was the third Kirkland soldier to die in the war in Iraq. Jake Herring, 21, died on April 27, 2004. Nathan Wood, 19, died last year on November 9.

Born on March 7, 1981, in Bellevue, Swanberg grew up in Finn Hill and Juanita, and graduated from Juanita High School in 2000. He joined the Marine Corps in October 2002, graduated from Marine boot camp in January 2003 and trained with the Marine school of Infantry at Camp Pendleton. Prior to his deployment in Iraq, Swanberg was stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., Marine base.

A memorial service for Swanberg was held on September 26 at Bothell's Northshore Baptist Church. At least 500 people paid their last respects, including many members of the Redmond Fire Department, where his mother Linda Swanberg works, and the Renton Police Department, where father Brian Swanberg is a retired police officer.

"This is the first time for many of us to be at a memorial," said Pastor Steve Michiels. "Tears are fine."

Swanberg was remembered at the service as a young man with a tremendous sense of humor, a man who was a pleasure to be around.

"Shane loved his country and was moved by 9/11. He was loyal to his country and that's why he paid the ultimate price. That's why we're here today," said Youth Pastor Jim Fowler, who had known Swanberg through his participation in youth groups.

"He had a million-watt smile," Michiels said. "His strength came from being a Marine. It gave him focus and a strength of purpose. He came back to his faith as a Marine. He knew the danger and the risks."

Swanberg's grandmother spoke of his love of the beach and water, as well as the pride he felt in being a Marine.

"He was so proud to show us around the base. He was a very proud marine," she said.

His father remembered the passion for golf he shared with his son. He recalled his son's early love for water - and his lack of fear of water at a very early age.

"As a little kid he'd dive in the deep end and sink," he said. "I'd have to jump in and pull him out."

Swanberg's mother thanked the congregation for celebrating her son's life at the memorial.

"Shane was on the road to great things. It was fun to see him take a challenge and go for it. He was so looking forward to coming back and chasing his dreams," she said.

Excerpts from a video presentation of Shane Swanberg's life were shown during the memorial to an audible tearful reaction.

"Freedom is a wonderful privilege, but it comes at a terrible cost," said Pastor Michiels.

Swanberg also survived by his brother Travis, 21, who is an Army sergeant, and his sister Nicole, a recent graduate of Juanita High School.

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