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Remembering California's war dead

August 10, 2009 |  3:21 pm

Department of Defense officials today announced the deaths of two Californians who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Army Spc. Matthew K.S. Swanson Army Spc. Matthew K.S. Swanson, 20, of Lake Forest died Saturday at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had been injured in a vehicle roll-over July 19 in Logar province, Afghanistan.

Swanson joined the Army in October 2007, according to a news release from Ft. Drum, N.Y., where he had been based since May 2008. A combat engineer, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in January. He is survived by his parents and sister.

Marine Lance Cpl. Javier Olvera, 20, of Palmdale died Saturday in Helmand province Afghanistan while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Since late 2001, The Times has chronicled the lives of military personnel who have died while serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their stories, photos, personal websites and additional material have been collected in the California's War Dead database. Readers are invited to leave memories of their loved ones and colleagues.

-- Megan Garvey

Here are some recent posts:

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Whittle

 “So it has now been two months since you have been taken away from us, and the pain of you being gone is still as heart breaking as when i first found out. As everyone has already stated on here, you were a hero, and you will always be remembered. today of most days is difficult for me because i cant stop thinking of you. i love you joshua r whittle, and im sorry. I hope your family is doing well. Please, watch over us, and visit us."

-- Friend posted today on Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Whittle, 20, of Downey, who was killed June 6 when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, on the Pakistani border


Army Reserve Sgt. Federico G.
Borjas  “Meeting you, knowing you and working with you has been a pleasure.
While on my first mission in Afghanistan and hearing what happened to you plunged my mind and heart into pain, anger and disbelief.
We are back at Manus; back from our tour and you haven't left any of us and we think about you and feel you by our sides daily.
Thanks for all the laughs and good times. We miss you beyond words!"

-- Briggs posted August 6 on Army Reserve Sgt. Federico G. Borjas, 33, of San Diego, who was killed Oct. 16, 2008, when his convoy was ambushed in Bermel District Center, Afghanistan.


Army National Guard
Sgt. Marcelino Ronald Corniel  “I will always remember Sgt Corniel as an eager person always wanting to get into the mix and as an amazing weapons guru..He came with me as a replacement, as a true volunteer, at a time when the fighting was at its worst. A time when the battalion was covering an immense area of operations with the same number of soldiers, day in and day out.. I remember that fateful day, when I felt powerless, helpless, and full of rage, hearing those mortar rounds launch and moments later impact near Sgt Corniel's post. It is a moment in time I will carry forever.. Every Dec 31st, I visit his grave and pay my respects to a fallen brother and to his family for raising such a fine young man. God Bless You Sgt Corniel and your loving family, You are truely missed...."

-- SFC Joe Carbajal posted Aug. 5 on Army National Guard Sgt. Marcelino Ronald Corniel, 23, of La Puente, who was killed Dec. 31, 2005, in a mortar attack in the southern part of Baghdad.


Army Sgt. Jason J. Buzzard  “I didn't know Sgt. Buzzard or his family, I just stumbled across this by accident and it really touched me. Thank you Sir for your service, for putting others before yourself and everything you've done for our country! Michele, my heart goes out to you and your children. I just lost my 39 year old husband March 14th of this year to cancer. I'm raising our 12 year old son alone and I know what you are going through. You're in my prayers..”

-- Kristie McCall posted Thursday on Army Sgt. Jason J. Buzzard, 31, of Ukiah, who was killed June 26, 2006, when a roadside bomb detonated near his cargo truck in Baghdad

Navy Reserve Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe "My daughter wrote this poem for Commander Wolfe. I do not have the talent to express the contributions he made, the impact he had on so many or the loss we all feel.

Commander Duane G. Wolfe

You set off to serve your country,
you didn't know the cost,
but now that you have left us,
we all know what we have lost.

We've lost a brave man,
who in protecting us did pass,
we've lost a good man,
but his memory will last.

He'll live on in our hearts,
he'll live on in our minds,
he's impacted my fathers life,
and thus influenced mine.

We've lost a great man,
a commander, husband, father,
we've lost a great soldier,
many lives have been altered.

He's an inspiration,
and a hero to me,
he's a shining example,
what we all should aspire to be."

Sarah Lynn Eilts

-- Ted Eilts posted Aug. 5 on Navy Reserve Cmdr. Duane G. Wolfe, 54, of Los Osos, who was killed May 25 when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy vehicle southeast of Fallouja, Iraq.