Vandenberg hero is laid to rest in Los Osos
By Senior Airman Wesley Carter, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 03, 2009
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Hundreds of people filled the Perlee Theater at Camp San Luis Obispo to honor the life of a warrior, leader and friend, June 2.
Navy Commander Duane Wolfe, a husband and father of three, was killed by a roadside bomb outside of Fallujah, Iraq May 25. Commander Wolfe, a Naval Reservist, worked at Vandenberg as the civilian deputy for the 30th Mission Support Group.
Several men and women, including his three children, stood before the crowd of people and spoke of the character that defined Commander Wolfe.
"Duane was a true warrior, leader and friend," said Col. Richard Wright, 30th Mission Support Group commander and friend of Commander Wolfe.
The Colonel shared some stories and revisited one in particular that showed the commander's sense of humor. Both men were in a staff meeting, and Colonel Wright was trying to get everyone to agree on a project so they could move on and complete it.
"He was my voice of reason," Colonel Wright said.
The meeting adjourned without an agreement being made, and the usually "even keel" Mr. Wolfe offered his suggestions to the colonel:
"Sometimes a two-by-four to the face will do the trick."
Carrie Wolfe-Smith, the eldest daughter of Commander Wolfe, spoke of different memories she had of her dad. Specifically of a bowl and a spoon that could be found in the kitchen sink after she woke up to go to school. The bowl was a sign that he had been there.
"Although the bowl will never be there again," she said. "There are still signs of him around. The life of my brother and sister and me are his legacy."
The passing of Commander Wolfe affected all of those who knew him, especially those who were closest. It affected all of them with grief, but also a remembrance for something greater than oneself.
"The passing of this quiet hero has disturbed our foundation," said Katie Wolfe, The Commander's youngest daughter. "Yet it brought us together to remember the honor in serving."
Serving is something that Commander Wolfe understood very well. He had the opportunity to not go to Iraq and retire from the Navy Reserves, but instead he started getting in shape so that he could lead the young men and women he would be deployed with, said Carrie.
Adopted out of Canada, Commander Wolfe, the devoted father, warrior and patriot, gave his life for America in order to help provide a better life for the people of Iraq.
"Duane believed each person was worth defending," said Navy Capt. Douglas Alexander, detachment officer in charge, Port Hueneme Naval Base, Calif. "That's why he kept doing it."
Editor's note: A memorial service will be held for Commander Wolfe at Vandenberg's chapel 1 at 1 p.m. June 4.