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

Paul Benjamin Swayze

Portland, Oregon

October 2, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
27 Navy  

U.S.S. John Paul Jones

 Served in Iraq.

They Came To Honor Our Hero

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October 7, 2011

Paul Benjamin Swayze
May 20th, 1984 – October 2nd, 2011

Paul Benjamin Swayze was born on May 20, 1984 right here in our home in Portland Oregon during a time when home births were not that common. He is the third of four children born to Bruce and Barbara Swayze. He grew up in Portland and attended Marshall High School and graduated in 2002. He was an athlete, playing baseball, football and varsity basketball. In little league baseball, he had an amazing curve ball and pitched for his team. He loved basketball and he had the most beautiful 3-point shot you ever saw. He had a high-scoring game of 26 points in one game, including seven 3-pointers. Paul was raised in church, and gave his heart to our Lord Jesus Christ at an early age. After high school, he joined the Navy and served our country honorably during a time of war. His time in the Navy was served on the U.S.S. John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer of the DDG class. He continued to play basketball, joining his ships’ team and playing at various bases around the world. It was here onboard his ship that he learned about technical monitoring equipment for CBR (chemical, biological, and radiological warfare). He took a liking to this work and soon excelled at it. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he was immediately hired by the CBR team in San Diego where he served until his sudden accidental death on Oct. 2, 2011. He loved riding motorcycles and was a member of the Twisted Motorcycle Club in San Diego.

Paul was with us for a very short 27 years. In his young life he accomplished much, lived a full rich life, and leaves us with a remarkable legacy. He loved the outdoors and often went hunting with his grandpa Jay, fishing with friends and relatives, horseback riding, hiking and exploring, and even some occasional golf. He frequented the gym and loved to work out. He loved water sports, boats, swimming, and hanging out at the beach. His adventurous spirit led him to skydiving once and flying in a glider. He also enjoyed the shooting range with his friends, practicing his skill at arms. His most recent accomplishment was climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan in 4 hours, 10 minutes. He was in Japan after the disastrous earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdown. As an SME (Subject Matter Expert) Engineer, he let a team that was responsible for the cleanup and testing of millions of dollars worth of Navy equipment onboard ships that had been contaminated by nuclear fallout. He also trained and led Navy boarding teams, i.e., teams that board vessels at sea to search for drugs, weapons, etc.

Paul traveled the world, both in the Navy and as a CBR expert and SME Engineer for the government after his military service ended. His success on the job was soon recognized by his superiors all across the nation. He was in demand as Paul traveled to military bases on numerous occasions to conduct seminars and workshops, teaching and training and passing on his knowledge to others. His work here on the west coast led to the complete policy change for the repair of CBR equipment onboard U.S. Naval ships. He had a rare opportunity to be invited to the Pentagon in Washington to work on the CBR equipment there. During the last year, he received two recognition awards, including the “Unsung Hero” award, the only one out of about 450 people. He received other promotions and recognition too numerous to mention here. His Unsung Hero Award citation documents the fact that he saved the Navy over $2.5 Million in just over 2 years, with his efforts and expertise.

His success and hard work allowed him the opportunity to purchase his first home in Spring Valley, where he has been enjoying home improvement projects, and enjoying life with his friends and roommates. He loved his dog, Drake, whom he raised from a puppy.

On a more personal side, he had a lovely and beautiful girlfriend, Emilia, whom he loved and spent much time with. From a previous relationship he also has an 18-month old daughter, Audriana, whom he loved and cherished. Paul and Emilia have traveled to Portland to spend time here with his family. A lot of people know that Paul had a wild streak and an adventurous spirit, but he was also a deeply spiritual man who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and never departed from the faith that was instilled in him as a child. He and Emilia often went to church, taking little Audriana with them whenever they could. Paul made friends quickly and easily everywhere he went. He was a natural leader. Everyone who knows him loved him almost immediately. He had a way of making you feel good, making you smile, and just bringing joy into your life. Whenever he came home to Portland, the house filled with people who came to see Paul, and the phone would ring off the hook (until they invented cell phones, anyway).

Paul is survived by his mother, Barbara Swayze, father and step-mom Bruce and Jamie Swayze, sister Sarah Swayze, brothers Luke and Daniel Swayze, his daughter Audriana Swayze, his maternal grandfather Jay Gruenfeld, paternal grandparents Lew and Darlene Swayze, and numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and many other relatives and dear friends. Most of us can be found on facebook. Paul was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by all, until that great day that we all meet together in heaven.

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