Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson
Died April 02, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
20, of Rochester, Minn.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died April 2 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(The following was taken from www.startribune.com of Apr. 5, 2010) Friends and family members were grieving Monday for a 20-year-old Marine from Rochester, Minn., whose death Friday in Afghanistan was called "a horrible loss" by his family pastor.
Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson, a 2007 graduate of Rochester Mayo High School, was killed in Helmand Province when the vehicle he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device, according to a post on the Support Our Marines Inc. Facebook page.
Swenson, who joined the Marines after graduating from high school in June 2007 and who also had been deployed to Iraq, was a mortar man with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, according to Kaneohe Bay media officer Sgt. Scott Whittington. His unit was sent to Afghanistan in November to conduct counterinsurgency operations in partnership with Afghan forces.
A Facebook memorial page set up in his honor by his sister, Emily Swenson, 19, a 2009 Rochester Mayo graduate, had more than 1,500 members late Monday and was drawing hundreds of sorrowful comments from friends and strangers alike.
"Everyone who knew and loved him is welcome to join, along with anyone else," Emily wrote on the page, which is called RIP LCPL Curtis Michael Swenson. "Every thought and prayer means so much to my family and I."
The Rev. Norman Wahl, senior pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Rochester, the Swenson family's place of worship, said Curtis Swenson was very active in church activities and volunteer work. "He was heavily involved in the youth program," Wahl said, citing his participation in volunteer work trips to California and Montana, and youth ski trips to Duluth.
He also played on the church's softball team, the Bethel Believers, who play in a league of local churches. "The last game he ever played in was the championship game," which this team won, Wahl said. "He hit two home runs, and one of them was a grand slam."
"He was very much looked up to by younger church members," Wahl added, describing Swenson as a young man who worked hard and didn't complain.
"The church community holds his family in our prayers," Wahl said. "Such a horrible loss."
Mayo Principal Tim Dorway remembered Swenson as "a nice, nice young man. He was well-liked by his classmates."
Dorway said counselors at the school remember him as "a strong student" who was eager to join the Marines after graduation.
"We're thankful to him for his service," Dorway said.
Swenson's parents, David and Kay, could not be reached late Monday. He is also survived by his wife, Katie.
Arrangements were pending with Macken Funeral Home in Rochester, an employee there said. Swenson's remains were being sent to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the employee said.