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Wednesday, November 19, 2003



Maui native
among 17 killed
in Iraqi crash

Kelly Bolor's death brings
to three those with isle ties
killed during fighting in Iraq



art
COURTESY PHOTO
Kelly Bolor: He had hoped to come home this month, but his deployment was extended


Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Martin Liberato Bolor, a Maui native, was among those killed in Saturday's collision of two Black Hawk helicopters in Mosul, Iraq, the Army said yesterday.

Bolor is the first Hawaii-born person to die in Iraq fighting, and the third with island ties.

Bolor, 37, was an Army reservist and a supply specialist with the 137th Quartermaster Company, which was attached to the 101st Airborne Division. The 1984 Lahainaluna High School graduate lived with his wife, Kelly, and their 3-year-old son, Kyle, in Whittier, Calif.

He was one of 17 soldiers killed in the largest single loss of American life in Iraq since major combat ended May 1, the military said. One helicopter was ferrying troops, while the other was carrying an Army emergency response team.

Bolor was "a person who was easy to like. He was always helpful," said his brother, Conrad Bolor.

At Lahainaluna, Kelly Bolor was on the junior varsity football team and wrestled in his senior year in the 125-pound weight class. He joined the Army after graduation and served for four years. After staying out for a year, Bolor enlisted in the Army Reserve and served with the 411th Engineer Battalion on Maui before transferring to a California unit in 1990s, his brother said.

Conrad Bolor said his brother was a government worker and his Army Reserve unit was alerted for duty in Iraq just after Christmas. He left a month later. The Army said Bolor's unit was part of the Army Reserve's 63rd Regional Readiness Command, with headquarters in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Conrad Bolor said his brother had hoped his unit would be sent back to California this month, but the deployment was extended until next year.

"He was planning to come home and relax with his family once he got off active duty," Conrad Bolor said. "He wanted to spend time with his brothers and sisters."

"When I talked with my sister-in-law on Saturday, she told me that he had just gotten the package we had sent him," Conrad Bolor said. "There was dried tako (squid), dried cuttlefish, arare and a lot Hawaiian CDs. He just wanted some local music. No one special -- just something he could brag about."

Bolor is also survived by three other brothers -- his twin Keith Maxie Bolor of Lahaina, Alvin Bolor of Wailuku, and 1st Sgt. Rocky Bolor, of Honolulu -- and a sister, Nita Kinimaka of Van Nuys, Calif.

A wake for Bolor will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Maria Lanakila Church in Lahaina. Services and mass will be held at 8 a.m. Nov. 29. Burial with full military honors will follow at Maui Memorial Park in Wailuku.

The Pentagon says that 422 American service members have died since the start of the Iraq war.

On Monday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, whose family lived on Oahu, was buried. She was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Swartworth, 43, an official in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, was killed Nov. 7 when the Black Hawk helicopter in which she had been a passenger was shot down.

Swartworth had planned to join her husband, Navy Capt. William Swartworth, a Pearl Harbor doctor, and their 8-year-old son in Mililani when she retired.

Swartworth rose through the ranks during her 26 years in uniform. In 1999 she began as Army legal services' highest-ranking warrant officer, overseeing Army legal administrators around the world.

The Washington Post yesterday quoted Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Romig, the Army's top legal officer, as saying Swartworth "was an example of a person who had pulled herself up by her bootstraps and made herself a success."

The third person with isle ties to die in Iraq combat was Sgt. Eugene Williams, a former 25th Infantry Division soldier whose wife, Brandy Dela Cruz Williams, and two children live in Wahiawa.

Williams, a native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was killed by a suicide bomber at a roadblock north of Najaf on March 30. He was assigned to the 3rd Division when he was killed.

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3 with Hawaii ties
killed in Iraq war

Here are the three people with Hawaii connections who have died in the war in Iraq:

>> March 30: Sgt. Eugene Williams, a former 25th Infantry Division soldier whose wife and two children live in Wahiawa, was killed by a suicide bomber at a roadblock north of Najaf. Williams was assigned to the 3rd Division when he was killed.

>> Nov. 7: Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, 43, an official in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, was killed when the Black Hawk helicopter in which she had been a passenger was shot down.

>> Nov. 15: Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Martin Liberato Bolor, a Maui resident, was killed in the collision of two Black Hawk helicopters. Bolor was one of 17 101st Airborne Division soldiers killed in the largest single loss of American life in Iraq since major combat ended May 1, the military said.

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