Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Lance Cpl. James E. Swain

20, of Kokomo, Indiana.
Swain died as result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 15, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. James E. Swain.


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"James, I think about you often. You were a top shelf Marine in every way. It is sad that you had to leave us, but you went out as a warrior which is all that any of us could ever hope for. On this Memorial Day, I offer you a toast to the Fallen. Never above us, never below us, always beside us. I will see you in Valhalla."
JT of NC

"This memorial weekend my family and I will again take time to remember James and his parents who he left behind. Again we will thank him for his sacrifice to make the world better.

I knew Jame's father, a talented and dedicated veteran himself. The grief is fresh still after these years. God bless you, God bless America and our beloved corps."
Tony Kinney, Cpl USMC of Zionsville, IN

"I knew LCpl Swain for a little over a month. We were prepping for the assault on Fallujah. He was a great kid. So full of life. He left us way too soon and I would gladly trade places with him. All he wanted was to go to school and become a better man. The jokes on him, he was already a great person. I know he's guarding heavens gates now, but sure wish he was still here with us. Never forgotten, God bless you brother. To his loving family and friends, I share your pain for his loss. He was taken much too soon. Deepest, heartfelt, and sincere condolences."
Sgt. Jesse Diaz of Las Vegas, NV

"Your birthday just passed... I think about you a lot James. I miss you"
Nicholas C. Werner of Peru, Indiana

"On this day Aug. 17, 1984, 28 years ago you came into our lives. I thank god for giving you to us. Happy Birthday James. With all our love Forever and Always."
Mom of Kokomo, Indiana

"James, whether you knew it or not, you were a very adored friend in high school. There was a pureness of heart in you, and you accepted anyone and everyone openly. You were in many of my classes, we joked around together with many of our other high school friends. When I heard of your death I was devastated. I want you to know, to this day you are on my mind all the time, especially when I see something about military action overseas. You were a peaceful, loving, caring friend that did not deserve to die so young. Your death is one of the reasons that I am currently "fighting" as a civilian in this country to make the country you fought for worthy of your brave sacrifice. Love you James."
Jennifer Setty of Greentown, Indiana

"It's so weird when I look at most of the younger Marines, even now seven years later I see your face in a lot of them. Younger men with aspirations and drive like I've never seen before. It is a constant reminder of good and amazing things that exist in our nation. You James are an example of what people should aspire to be. There isn't a day I don't think about you and what happend. I know that I can never make sense of it, for me I think I just want to try and be a little more like you each day. I can only hope that is enough. Know wherever you are James that you are missed and thought of. Semper Fi."
Doc Aragon, Shaun M. of Okinawa, Japan

"LCpl Swain, I will never forget the day I laid my hands on you to pull you out of the armored vehicle transporting you to our firm base during the battle of Fallujah...

The images are forever embeded into my memory and your sacrifice to protect your brothers will never be forgotten...

Semper Fi brother....
Gunny Campbell USMC 0211 RET
2000 - 2010"
Donny Campbell of st Petersburg, FL

"James (or Swain, as I knew him) was one of my first friends in the Marine Corps. He was one of the few people I could relax around. I'll never forget the day he left DLI. I had been on duty the night before (Thanksgiving). He was clearly exhausted, but insisted on staying talking with me for the last two or 3 hours of my 'day'. As I walked away, I told him that I would see him out in the 'fleet.' Sadly, a year later I received the news. James, I will see you in the next life. I have never, and will never forget you and your sense of humor or how welcome you made me feel. RIP."
Amanda Haney of Louisville, KY

"James, i miss you man. I wish you wouldn't have left as soon as you did. I always knew you were one of the good guys. I deserved to die instead of you. I wish i could've saved you that day. Thanks brother, thanks for enduring that which I don't have to endure. My love and respect is forever with you;"
Jeffrey Auksel of Sierra Vista, AZ

"James, Even though we never met You have been a part of our family. Matt always talks about you. We gave our son your name for his middle name. He is now 2, Matthew James. You and your family are Always in our thoughts and prayers."
Matt & Hope Ragan USMC of Cherry Point ,NC

"I will never forget our talks. He showed me in a very short time what a true friend was. I will keep him always with me.I wear his name on my wrist as a reminder of that friendship and his honor. He could've been anything,he chose to be a Marine.
- Cpl Ami Pirela"
Ami of Fayetteville, NC

"My deepest sympathy and condolences to family and friends of James. He was an outstanding recruit. I saw in him a natural-born leader and true warrior. I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing."
GySgt Jim Hall of Al Asad, Iraq

"November 15, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. James E. Swain:
James gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Fallen Marine receives new intel medal

By Bryan Mitchell - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Nov 14, 2008 10:38:01 EST

Lance Cpl. James Swain gave his life during the struggle for Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004.

On Friday, almost four years later, Swain’s family and friends, along with members of the nation’s intelligence community, will gather at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., to dedicate the James E. Swain Annex, which will house an extension of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity building.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell also will award Swain’s family the first ever Intelligence Community Medal of Valor, its second-highest award for bravery. The Intelligence Cross is its highest bravery award.

A member of the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., Swain, 20, was attached to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regimental Combat Team in Iraq. As an intelligence specialist, his primary job during the battle of Fallujah was to provide targeting information to fellow Marines slugging it out with the enemy.

On Nov. 15, 2004, Swain volunteered to man a vehicle-mounted M240G machine gun as fellow Marines swept a building looking for insurgents. He spotted an ambush and opened fire to suppress the attack.

Swain was fatally wounded in the fight.

Brig. Gen. R.M. Lake, Marine Corps director of Intelligence, recommended Swain for the medal, citing his heroism and courage as “values we all strive to meet.”"
MC Times of NY, NY, USA

"DNI Awards First Intelligence Community Medal for Valor to a U.S. Marine


November 10, 2008
DNI Awards First Intelligence Community Medal for Valor Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has awarded the first ever Intelligence Community Medal for Valor to the late Marine Lance Cpl. James E. Swain.
The Intelligence Community Medal of Valor, the IC’s second highest award for bravery, will be presented to Lance Cpl. Swain’s family during a Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. ceremony Nov. 14, 2008 at 11 a.m. Lance Cpl. Swain, a Kokomo, Ind. native, died Nov. 15, 2004 of wounds received while serving as a Marine Corps intelligence analyst during the battle of Fallujah in Iraq. He was attached to Company K, 3rd Bn, 1st Marine Regimental Combat Team, 1st Marine Division, and was tasked with providing targeting information to attacking Marines.
During a collection mission on Nov. 15, 2004, Lance Cpl. Swain volunteered to assist with security by manning a vehicle mounted machine gun. As Marines prepared to enter a building, Lance Cpl. Swain identified an insurgent ambush. He immediately opened fire, alerting his fellow Marines and suppressing the ambush but exposing himself to the enemy. Lance Cpl. Swain’s heroic actions saved the lives of his fellow Marines, but cost him his own life when he fell mortally wounded.
In recommending the award, Marine Corps Director of Intelligence Brig. Gen. R. M. Lake wrote that Lance Cpl Swain’s “heroism and courage in supporting the Intelligence Community’s mission and our nation’s security typify the core values we all strive to meet on a daily basis.” The Medal for Valor recognizes heroism and courage in connection with an Intelligence Community contribution to national security. It is second only to the Intelligence Cross in IC awards for bravery. The DNI established the awards Oct. 1, 2008 to properly acknowledge the extraordinary and sometimes unsung accomplishments of Intelligence Community members.
The Director of National Intelligence oversees the 16 federal organizations that make up the intelligence community. The DNI also manages the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. Additionally, the DNI serves as the principal advisor to the president, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council on intelligence issues related to national security.
# # #
Media interested in attending the award ceremony should contact 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton, Marine Corps Base Quantico at (703) 432-0289 or kristin.dalton@usmc.mil by 1:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13."
Intel Marine of Washington DC

You have always been in my thoughts. You were a great friend and I will always remember the fun we had. I hope to visit "you" on my visit to Kokomo this weekend."
Kayla Beachy-Ottman of Louisville, Ky

"It has been years since the untimely death of LCpl Swain although he still weighs heavily on my heart. I will never forget his and his families sacrifice. My families prayers continue to go out to the Swain family."
GySgt Juarez of Beaufort SC

"To the family of:James E. Swain I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"James Swain was a good friend of mine. We first met in Virginia Beach at MOS school where we sat next to each other. Later, we were both stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Shortly after we were selected to deploy to Iraq together. While in California awaiting our deployment I brought him home to spend time with my family, where my friends and family fell in love with him. He was such a warm and kind individual with a personality that radiated to others. I will always remember his last words to my sister before we departed for Iraq, "Don't worry I'll take care of Stacey for you and bring her back safely." When I learned of his situation I was devastated, but I know my safe return was due to his promise to my sister. He was a big brother to me and I miss him with every day that passes. God bless you James, thank you for watching over me, and I will always remember the ultimate sacrifice you gave for our country."
Stacey Stout Cpl/USMC of Okinawa, Japan

"Thank You
by Lily Michaels, 2003

I can't shake every hand.
I can't put flowers on every grave.
I can't console every family member.
But I can say thank you.

You have given me the freedom I enjoy today.
Your blood was shed in place of mine.
Your family grieved so mine could rejoice.
All I can say is thank you.

There are not words big enough.
There is not a hug strong enough.
There is not a smile wide enough.
All I can offer is thank you.

You are my hero.
You are in my thoughts.
You are in my prayers.
For all you've done, thank you.

James, you are a Hoosier Hero and will not be forgotton."
Judy D of Anderson, IN

"miss you bro think of you every day i wish we could take another bike ride with just a quarter and on the way home stop and get some snacks at grandma and grandpa's house"
Nicholas Werner of kailua,hi

"LCpl Swain had a keen sense of humor that usually left his fellow Marines with a dazed look on thier face. He found that the funniest of all. He is sorely missed in the USMC. My prayers go out to his family."
GySgt Juarez of OKI JA

"I worked with LCpl Swain in Okinawa before he went to Iraq. I remember Swain as the guy who just couldn't stay awake. We always had to keep an eye on him to keep him from getting caught. He was a very nice guy and knew how to make people smile. I will never forget him. Thanks for having such a wonderful son. God bless the Swain family."
Karen Eriks of Gary, IN

"You're not forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to James' family and friends on his first death's anniversary. Thank you so much James for what you have done and accomplished. From a very grateful and fellow American."

"James Wayne Swain; the nickname we gave James E. Swain sticks in my mind everyday. Any mission I gave this young Marine was done to perfection, James never failed at anything. As it has been a year now since we lost James I can’t help but think of the times he told me of his love for his girlfriend, the woman he wanted to marry. I can’t help but think of walking into the COC and seeing James furiously at work and knowing that I can relax, Swain is on the job. I know right now St. Peter is relaxed because James Swain is guarding heavens gates. I have never served with a finer Marine, nor am I more proud to call someone my brother than James E. Swain. James, brother, keep Heaven’s gates safe until I can come relieve you. Until we meet again, your brother, Matt"
Sgt. Matthew Ragan, Matthew.Ragan@dia.mil of Washington D.C.

"Hey Hun,

I just hope you understand better now, that yes, many people loved, cared, and appreciated you. It's sad that it took for this to happen for us all to realize this.

You touched so many lives. Those of us that were close to you still tear up at your name. We are so proud of what you did and who you were.

You and I both know there is more that could be said then this little comment box could ever hold. I'm doing the things we wanted to do. Slowly, (haha) cuz that's how I do things, but they're happening. Just knowing you'd be proud helps me get through these days without you.

I love you, just as much as ever. I'm still waiting for you to walk through that door and tell me this is all some joke. Wouldn't that be nice?

Just know that you've made me a better person and even though I only knew and loved you for a short time, you'll always be a huge part of my life.

As you told me "I'll love you for now and until the end of time.""
of Kokomo, IN

"Your fiance emailed me out of the blue one day, to thank me for being the doc that cared for you. She even knew that I held your hand in the ambulance, through the aid station, until they took you from me for the helo-vac. I still don't know what to think of that. I have your picture in my head from that day, when you talked to me and stayed calm as I held your hand. I kept checking the medivac lists of the injured and didn't know till two days later that you had left us. I've seen your face now in the photos that Whitney has been nice enough to share with me. I have read about you and heard words from your mother who I met at the memorial....and I still cannot to this day find the words. I can only thank you and even that wouldn't touch what you have done and been to this world. To give one's self for the protection of others is something most people will never understand. At your age you have done more than people twice your size and with twice as many years under their belts could of ever accomplished. You have meant the world to someone because you gave your world for someone else. We will never forget you James, least of all your family, very least of all me. I would go through it again in a heartbeat to be alongside such fine soldiers. Soldiers with half the age but triple the heart and strength of anyone in this world. Rest in peace Devildog, please keep an eye on them for me. The world misses you James... and we will never forget. Semper Fi

Doc Aragon
3/1 Kilo Co. 2nd Plt"
HM2 Shaun M. Aragon of San Diego, CA

"I will miss you james. we had some good times that i will never forget. i have pictures of us when we were kids and a couple of when i went to your boot camp graduation. i look at them everyday. thank you. Love ya bro, your cousin, nick USN"
Nicholas Werner of Kailua, Hawaii

"James was an awesome guy, and an outstanding marine. I am from Indiana as well. I had alot of trouble dealing with his death because when we first arrived to DLI, he was slated to take spanish, and I was slated to take russian. We switched spots, Russian wasn't his Nac, and he got reclassified. I found out about his passing, and it was very hard for me to deal with. I know that James was a very honorable man and he helped me out in many ways, as well as value life for all it is, and respect those that have fallen for our cause."
Joshua C Miller of San Antonio, Texas

"I am sorry for my mis-typing, I meant ot say, "I realize my words may NOT do much for your grief". I am truly sorry for your loss and again thank you for the sacrifice James made for all of us."
Andy Bliss of Philadelphia, PA

"Swain family,

I am not a soldier nor am I person of any great political power or importance, I am just an American that follows and appreciates the sacrifice that every one of our soldiers has made in Iraq. I don't know you or James Swain, but I know that what he died for means a lot to me and I know my words may do much for your grief, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything he has done for our country.

Andy Bliss
Andy Bliss of Philadelphia, PA

"Swain family,
After these past few months since James left us we still have not forgotten him. James was my friend, a great scout, and a fine Marine. I know that God blessed me with the few years I knew him and his memory will never leave me. God bless you all. Rest in peace my friend."
Kyle of Kokomo, IN

"Family of James Swain, LCpl USMC
I am extremely sad to hear about James, he was a great person, friend, and Marine. James and I worked together in the Administative office in Monterey for several months together, James taught me a lot of computer stuff, while I teased him about Kokomo. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Swain family. Your son will live in our hearts forever. Peace be with you."
Stephen Ross of Detroit, MI

"To the family of Lcpl Swain, I went to DLI in monterey CA at around the same time that your son did before he went to Virginia to become an Intel analyst. I am currently at damneck Va in my last 2 weeks of the course, and so far following the same footsteps as your son, we both went to monterey CA, we both went to and im still in damneck Va for the same job and after I graduate, I too am going to Camp Pendelton and off to Iraq by end of June. I never knew your son personally but im sure he was great guy and may he rest in peace with all the other fallen soldiers and Marines. Semper Fidelis"
PFC. Perez U.S.M.C. of Damneck, VA, US

"Corporal Swain, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Thank you Cpl Swain for the courageous service you rendered to a grateful nation. You are our hero and will be thought of each day we raise our flag in the front yard. Semper Fi Marine. God Bless you"
The Shaw family of Pasadena, Maryland

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, James, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To James' Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

"To James' Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"May God provide you strength during this tagic time. And may the memories of your loved one bring you comfort."
Elisha wife of fallen soldier PFC Shawn Pahnke KIA June 17, 2003 of Shelbyville, IN

"Thank You for the gift of Freedom. I will honor it in your memory."
P Bell of Macon,Ga

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal James E. Swain,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca

"Thank you James Swain, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Lance Cpl. James Swain:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless James for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Lance Cpl. James Swain:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of James, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on