VANCOUVER, WA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, E CO, 2D BN, 7TH MAR, RCT-7, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ 08/13/2004
He was a popular student who wrestled throughout high school. In his off hours, he loved to fish and found time whenever he could. But from the time he was 8 years old and stalked his rural Montana neighborhood at night in his uncle’s camouflage uniform, Kane Funke dreamed about joining the military.
Funke, a Marine lance corporal who spent his last two years of high school in Vancouver, Wash., was killed in an explosion Aug. 13 during combat in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
He was 20, and had served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, at the Marine Corps Ground Combat Center based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Funke spent his childhood in Kalispell, Mont., with his mother, Stephanie Funke, and his sister, Ashley Johnston.
According to his uncle, Gregg Funke of Polson, Mont., Kane was an active child. His interest in the military started in childhood and picked up in junior high school, Funke said.
“That became a goal of his from early on,” said Funke.
Kane Funke moved to Vancouver in the summer of 2001, to spend the last two years of high school with his stepfather, Dale Johnston — and also to begin preparing for the military.
While attending Heritage High School, Funke also attended classes and training with an ROTC program near Vancouver in Brush Prairie, as well as a Naval Sea Cadet program at Fort Vancouver, Johnston said.
By the time he graduated Heritage in 2003, he had already signed up for the Marines.
“He wanted to be in the infantry,” said Johnston, and later on, he thought about possibly joining some special-forces unit. He had planned on a career in the military.
“That’s all he ever thought about. He was just born with it,” Johnston said.
Last Christmas, Kane Funke’s extended family celebrated at the home of his grandparents in Polson. Soon he would be shipped overseas, and so it was the last time Gregg Funke saw his nephew alive. “He seemed a little anxious, a little nervous, understandably,” said Funke. “But he was ready to go to work.”
He said that until Kane’s death, Funke family members had posted a combined 93 years of military service since World War I — “with not so much as a scratch.”
“You think about that stuff, and you think about the odds,” Funke said. “We thought that the odds of him being a casualty were real slim. It was quite a shock.”