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Church deacon killed by bomb in Iraq

A church deacon from Los Osos, Calif. was killed on Memorial Day after his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device while traveling in Fallujah, a spokesman from the U.S. Department of Defense said.
Navy reservist Cmdr. Duane Wolfe, 54, recently talked of retiring from service, but felt like he was a vital part of the mission in Iraq.
Despite more than 30 years of service in various reserve units attached to the Naval Operational Support Center at Naval Base Ventura County and a career as a civilian deputy commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Wolfe believed he still had a lot to offer, said his wife, Cynthia Wolfe of Los Osos.

“He said, ‘I’m getting up in age,’ and we would talk about retirement once in awhile, and I said I would support him in any decision he made,” she said. “He said, ‘They need my training and expertise.’ He said there are young men he sent out there who needed his help. He was a mentor for all the younger people, and he wanted to be an example by being a leader in how he lived and worked.”

For the past 24 years, Wolfe was a civilian deputy commander of the 30th Space Wing Mission Support Group. While juggling his career and family obligations, he taught Bible classes at Los Osos Church of Christ for more than 20 years.

“He would drive for an hour from work to home and he would still teach Bible class on Wednesday nights,” Cynthia Wolfe said. “He was devoted to his church as much as his family.”

In November, Wolfe was named commander and assigned to the U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division in Iraq, where he served asthe officer in charge of the Al-Anbar Area Office.

On May 25, Wolfe was killed when his convoy was hit by aroadside bomb. On Sunday, his body was flown from Dover Air Force Base in Delawareto San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, where he received a hero’swelcome complete with a procession of military agencies and veterans.

A service for Wolfe will be at 11 a.m. June 2 at Camp San Luis Obispo, followed by burial at Los Osos Valley Memorial Park.

While the shock of losing her husband of 33 years is something shestill struggles with day to day, Cynthia Wolfe said the outpouring ofsupport from family, friends and strangers has helped her and her threechildren deal with their pain.

“They are being really strong, but they are grief-stricken, yetstill very proud of him,” she said of her children — CarrieWolfe-Smith, 28; Katie Wolfe, 25; and Evan Wolfe, 22. “We saw him as ahusband and daddy, but now we’ve seen the rest of the picture — that hewas such a well-regarded man. The honor that was paid to him will lastin our hearts.”

Wolfe attended Hueneme High School and enlisted in the Navy shortlyafter he graduated in 1972. Cynthia Ralston went to Buena High Schoolin Ventura, and the couple met and married in 1975.

After five years of active service, Wolfe decided to continue as areservist and eventually earned a bachelor’s of science degree inconstruction engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1980.

She said her husband would travel to various areas in Iraq with theArmy Corps of Engineers to work on wastewater treatment systems. Duringtheir last conversation, Wolfe and his family celebrated Katie’s recentgraduation from nursing school.

“He was supposed to come home on July 10,” Cynthia Wolfe said. “Lasttime we talked to him, he was just so happy … so proud of Katie. Wewere all able to say, ‘We love you … we can’t wait to see you.’ Hismind and heart were always at home and how the family was doing.”

(Story used with permission.)

  • Feedback
    As Duanes sister, I thank you for recognizing his love of family, country & most of all the love he had for God. As children we were always sent to church,as Catholics and alone. We learned after we left home we could actually talk to God, we learned how to read & understand the bible as adults. I want children to know that we came from an abused family life, but we didn’t follow in our parents foot steps, you can be what ever you want to be in life, you can make changes for a better life, and that is what Commander Duane G. Wolfe had done. God gave me the best gift ever, my brother, we were adopted, so he was picked just for me. I miss him terribly, I know he is God’s soldier & my Guardian Angel. God Bless U
    Loretta K. Wolfe-Nuckols
    Loretta K. Wolfe-Nuckols
    To all Christians
    Kahlotus, WA
    July, 29 2009

    We the churches in ghana are proud to support the brave men and women serving America nation at home and overseas(iraq,afganizetan). Join us as we pray daily for America’s armed forces and the families who stand behind them.
    We know that when people are placing their lives daily in the face of danger we need to do all we can to bring them assurance that God is watching over them and that they can have courage and peace in their difficult circumstances.
    We pray for families and friends as they prepare memoral service.
    God bless you.
    Noah mends
    June, 4 2009

    Please accept our profound condolences to the family and congregation of the late Cmdr. Duane Wolfe.
    May the Lord comfort and sustain you, in your hour of need. Jer. 17:7,8.
    Philip P.S. Kivedo
    Philip P.S. Kivedo
    Church of Christ West – End
    Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
    South Africa
    June, 2 2009

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