Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Kane M Funke

Missoula, Montana

August 13, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Marine L/Cpl

2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twenty-nine Palms, California

Died as result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
Those who knew Kane Funke as a high school wrestler or hardened Marine may never have guessed he was born weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces with a 10 percent chance of survival. "He came into this world fighting, and he left fighting," said his uncle, Eric Funke. Kane Funke, 20, of Vancouver, Wash., died Aug. 13 in an explosion in Anbar province. The machine gunner was based at Twentynine Palms, Calif. By the age of 3, Funke was hyperactive and constantly running on tiptoe, Eric Funke recalled. Within five years, the child had decided he wanted to be a Marine and asked his uncle for old uniforms. "He''d hide out in people''s back yards at night all cammied up," Eric Funke said. Funke grew up in Montana before moving to Vancouver and living with his stepfather. Friends say he skipped graduation for boot camp. In the hours before he died, Kane Funke tried calling his mother Stephanie, but he got voice mail. "At least I still have his voice on my cell phone," she said. "''Hi, Mom. I love you. I''ll be there in two weeks.''

From The Missoulian missoulian.com 08/21/04

Serviceman who died last week in Iraq laid to rest overlooking Flathead Lake 
JOHN STROMNES of the Missoulian Aug 21, 2004

OLSON - A young Marine who died in combat a week ago in the vast desert of western Iraq was buried Friday on a hill overlooking Flathead Lake in Polson.
The funeral of Lance Cpl. Kane Funke, who turned 20 on July 12, was attended by some 400 people, including a contingent of 12 active-duty Marines from the Spokane area. The Marines served as pallbearers and honor guard and as a special emissary of sympathy and service to the Funke family over the past few days, said Capt. Matt Nation of the Marine Corps Reserve Center staff in Spokane.
They offered the family support and they tried to be of service, he said.
"There's no manual that tells us how to do it," Nation said of the difficult but ultimately rewarding duty.

Funke was among 50 U.S. servicemen and women killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom so far during the month of August, and one of three killed Friday, Aug. 13, according to U.S. Department of Defense records posted on the Internet. Three Montana servicemen have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom since the war began last year. This was the first burial of an active duty service member killed in combat in recent memory in Polson.

Funke died from the explosion of an incendiary device during "security and stability operations" in Al Anwar Province, the Department of Defense said in the terse press announcement last week. Al Anwar Province is in the heart of the Sunni Triangle in western Iraq, and a particularly violent combat zone. It borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Funke grew up and attended elementary school in Polson, and many friends and family members live in Polson and the Mission Valley. Thus the funeral was held in Polson.
He attended high school in Kalispell, where his mother Stephanie Funke resides. But he moved to Vancouver, Wash., to live with his stepfather for the last two years of high school. One reason: Vancouver offered a special Naval Sea Cadet program, similar to the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Since he enlisted in Vancouver, the Marine Corps lists that as his hometown.
An uncle, Eric Funke, gave the eulogy at the funeral Friday morning at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

"At 8 years old, Kane knew he wanted to be a Marine," Eric Funke said. "He'd hide out in people's back yards at night all camou'ed up." For a while, Kane considered joining the Navy Seals, an elite reconnaissance unit. But he ultimately chose the Marines.
He could barely wait to join the Corps, family members said. Enlistment requires a high school diploma, and he graduated last June from Heritage High in Vancouver. But he did not wait for the graduation ceremony.
Instead, he enlisted on June 17, 2003, according to a Marine Corps release. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force as a machine gunner on Dec. 13, 2003, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He was deployed to Iraq early in February. He was scheduled to leave combat operations for Kuwait in a few weeks, family members said.

Funke is the first combat fatality to be buried at the Lakeview Cemetery in the 17 years that Ron Grogan of Grogan Funeral Home has been the local funeral director, he said. Funke's grave is the 31st in three rows of veterans' graves, all marked by simple granite headstones in a special section reserved for veterans.

Family members wept softly as the flag covering the casket was reverently folded and handed to one of the Marine pallbearers. The Marine knelt on one knee and bestowed the flag on Funke's mother, who was seated with family and friends near the casket. Kane's stepfather, Dale Johnston of Vancouver, also received a flag from the Marine contingent during the graveside service.

The motorcade from the church to the cemetery stretched more than a mile and a half. Ten law enforcement vehicles led the procession, emergency lights flashing. Representatives of several veterans groups were in attendance.
At the cemetery, a lone bagpipe droned out the tune to "Amazing Grace" as family and friends said their final goodbyes near the casket.
"He had eight months of tough fighting in Iraq," his uncle Eric Funke said, choking back tears at the funeral. "He came into this world fighting, and he left fighting."
Before his death, Funke was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal, according to the Marines.

A memorial education fund in Kane Funke's name has been established for his younger sister Ashley at Community Bank in Polson, family members said.

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