September 16

1st Lieutenant Andrew K. Stern, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 17 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1st Lieutenant Andrew K. Stern, 24, of Germantown, Tenn., died Sept. 16 from injuries received due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

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Associated Press -- MEMPHIS, Tenn. A Memphis soldier killed in Iraq loved life at a fast pace, and was looking forward to seeing it on the back of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Marine First Lieutenant Andrew Stern's family says the 24-year-old was tentatively one month away from leaving the war when he was killed in battle Thursday. Stern's father says his son was "as good a son as there could be," calling the younger Stern his "best friend." Stern deployed in April and was in Fallujah to the best of his family's knowledge. He grew up near Chicago before his family moved to the Memphis area in 1997. While attending the University of Tennessee, Stern was an avid rower and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. A remembrance service is set for 1 p-m Tuesday in Memphis. Stern will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 18 the death a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki, 21, of Lynnwood, Wash., died Sept 16 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Rintamaki was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Seattle Times -- A 21-year-old Lynnwood Marine was killed in action while fighting in the Anbar province of Iraq, the military and his family said yesterday. Marine Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, First Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. His family said he died in an explosion. No additional details were available. Rintamaki was an adopted child who had lived with his mother and two sisters in Lynnwood since he was in second grade. His family described him as the "jokester" of the family, a born adventurer who had a positive attitude. He joined the Marines in January 2001. He volunteered for duty in Iraq and was sent there in June, a week shy of his 21st birthday. "He was an extremely bubbly, energetic kid, always had funny antics that he would do," said his mother, Myra Rintamaki. He spent one year at Meadowdale High School and also took classes at Westside Place, a former private school in Seattle. His family said he was bored in high school and was looking for something that would challenge him. After researching every branch of the military, he chose the Marines because of its elite status and high standards. "He had an adventure-seeking personality," his mother said yesterday. "It was hard for him to sit down in a classroom. That's why the Marines were so good for him; they provided some challenge." He entered boot camp when he was 17. Before leaving, he reunited with his biological parents and maintained a close relationship with them while serving in the military. "He never let anything get him down and always made light of a situation," Myra Rintamaki said. "He never let people know if something was bothering him." "He understood the risk," said Stacey Swinson of Tacoma, Steven Rintamaki's biological mother. "His attitude was, I'm going to do it, but I'm going to come home." He spent most of his military career in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and also traveled to the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Bali. During his travels, he satisfied his passion for the outdoors by mountain climbing and kept an online photo album for his family. "I keep looking up at the sky, looking for my son," Swinson said. "We never would have imagined this. You hear about other families, but you just don't think it's going to happen to you."

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