Marine Cpl. Daane A. Deboer
Died June 25, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
24, of Ludington, Mich.; assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 25 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(The following was taken from blog.mlive.com of July 2, 2010) GRAND RAPIDS -- Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Innis was looking forward to a hunting trip with Daane DeBoer when his best friend's military tour in Afghanistan was done.
"I planned on it. He was coming back, and we were going to go deer hunting," Innis said Friday, just outside the doors of the Mayflower Congregational Church where friends and family of DeBoer gathered for his funeral.
DeBoer, a 24-year-old Marine corporal from Rockford, died a week ago when an improvised explosive device went off in Afghanistan.
Innis, who was attending sniper school in North Carolina, had the somber task of escorting DeBoer's body back in a plane from Dover Air Force Base to Gerald R. Ford Airport.
"That was definitely the most difficult thing I've ever had to do and probably will be for the rest of my life," Innis said.
About 300 people gathered at the church Friday to say goodbye to DeBoer, who joined the Marines in spring 2009 and was deployed in March.
A group of Marines in dress uniform walked silently down the center of the church ahead of DeBoer's casket and, later, a Marine bagpipe player played "Amazing Grace" before pallbearers loaded the flag-draped casket in a hearse.
In letters read by a pastor, friends described DeBoer as "incredibly deep, always reliable and intensely loyal."
"He laughed so much that, around him, there was never a dull moment," the pastor said.
Lt. Michael Manning, battalion commander for DeBoer, lauded him in a note.
"Daane will be remembered for his constant professionalism and absolute loyalty to his fellow marines," he wrote. "He was a brave man."
Marine Cpl. Seth Jenkins, who knew DeBoer well, said he was a man of faith who was "more squared away than any other Marine I worked with."
Innis described his friend as someone with an infectiously positive attitude and a strong desire to be in the military.
"He wanted to do something more, something bigger than himself," Innis said. "He was dedicated from the get-go,"
Innis last talked with DeBoer about two weeks ago.
"He sounded optimistic. He was doing his job. He was helping people," he said. "He loved what he was doing.
"Tinkering with bombs is not what I would consider enjoyable, but Daane liked it."
As a combat engineer, DeBoer would search for mines and IEDs, clear roads and do construction demolition, according to other Marines at Friday's service.
"It's going to be hard," Innis said. "He was always there for me to talk to on the phone."
Innis and DeBoer worked and lived in Colorado before joining the Marines at about the same time. Innis recalled how they worked at restaurants to support their passion for skiing.
He remembered how DeBoer would convince him to go for a run while they both trained for the Marines.
"I was having trouble keeping the motivation and commitment. Daane just knew no pain," Innis said.
Army specialist James McGovern called DeBoer a friend.
"He passed away, but in my opinion, he died in the most honorable way," he said.
DeBoer was to be buried with full military honors in a private service at Blythefield Memorial Gardens in Rockford.