Funeral held for Anchorage Marine killed in Afghanistan

by Leyla Santiago
Saturday, February 28, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Family and friends paid final respects to Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen on Saturday, who was killed in the line of duty Feb. 14.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell attended the service, as did the mother of Cpl. Jason Karella, another Marine killed in October last year.

Three months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hansen signed up for the United States Marines. He served in Iraq and came home safely.

Then he joined other Marines on assignment in Afghanistan, where he fought his final battles.

"Unfortunately I've been through too many of these over the years," Gen. Richard Zilmer said.

Hansen was on patrol in Afghanistan when the 24-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb.

"That kid was just -- I shouldn't say kid, that young Marine -- was, oh I'd love to have about 170,000 of Daniel Hansens and life would get a whole lot easier here," Master Gunnery Sgt. James Adwell said.

Hansen was part of a bomb diffusing unit. He trained as an elite Marine, even guarded former President George W. Bush.

"Daniel was your Marine's Marine," Zilmer said. "He was extremely competent in what he did.

"What I will miss most about Daniel is just his infectious smile, his enthusiasm, the person that he was is what will be the toughest thing for all of us," Zilmer said.

Hansen's twin brother told friends and family at the funeral that his brother said he had to serve overseas -- he couldn't stand the idea of putting another Marine at risk for taking his place.

"We are here to celebrate his life, and it was a very special life," Zilmer said.

The life of a son, a brother, a friend, a Marine.

"Your heart will swell, but in the same token your eyes will tear," Adwell said. "But we go on. We're the Marines. The United States Marines."

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