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Kirkland Marine killed in Fallujah - Juanita High grad, 19, shot during assault on insurgent stronghold

KIRKLAND -- A U.S. Marine from Kirkland was killed Tuesday during the assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
/ Source: The King County Journal

KIRKLAND -- A U.S. Marine from Kirkland was killed Tuesday during the assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Lance Cpl. Nathan Wood, 19, died while clearing a building in the town of about 300,000. According to his uncle, Bill Olson of Bothell, Wood was shot twice by an insurgent fighter, once in the head and once in the chest.

``He died pretty much instantly,'' Olson said. ``From kids on the ground over there we hear they're taking very heavy casualties.'' One of Wood's best friends there, Garrett Weir, also from Kirkland, was injured in fighting Tuesday.

Nathan is the son of Rex and DeEtte Wood of Kirkland, and he also has a sister still attending Juanita High.

In Iraq, Wood was part of Lima Company, Battalion, 1st Expeditionary Force. He joined the military shortly after graduating from Juanita High School in 2003, where he was a teaching assistant to the school resource officer. His unit was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

``He went into the Marines, I think, to get some money for college and I think as a career choice,'' Olson said. ``He was still figuring out what he was going to do.''

As the war in Iraq continued, Nathan Wood and several friends decided to sign up more out of a sense of duty.

Olson described Wood as a quiet and polite kid who had a lot of friends. He enjoyed camping, fishing, playing baseball and working on his car and car radio with his friends.

``He was just a good kid,'' Olson said. ``There wasn't a bad characteristic about Nathan at all.''

Wood moved in with Olson for a few months to be more independent from his Kirkland family before joining the Marines.

``He's as American as they get,'' Olson said.

Wood is the second serviceman from Kirkland to die in Iraq this year. Army Sergeant Jake Herring, who was 21, died April 28 in a hospital in Mosul after a hand grenade exploded near his vehicle the previous day.

Herring was a 2001 graduate of Lake Washington High School and was captain of the school football team.

Chris Winters can be reached at chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com or at 425-453-4232.