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'Bravest' hurt in Iraq back in U.S.

December 6, 2004

Wounded firefighter Daniel Swift hopes to be at this week's funeral of the city firefighter killed when their National Guard unit was attacked in Iraq, Swift's stepmother said yesterday.

Swift, 24, of Ladder Co. 43 in Manhattan, arrived at a small hospital unit at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Saturday night, said Paula Swift of the Bronx.

An army medic with A Company of the 69th Infantry, Swift nearly lost a leg to shrapnel when his unit came under attack outside of Baghdad on Nov. 29. He has had surgery to remove the shrapnel from his leg, and doctors will also remove it from his right eye. He had been at a military hospital in Germany.

"He's doing good, he's in great spirits, he really sounds good," said Paula Swift, who talked to her stepson by phone yesterday afternoon. "He was just talking about how he was feeling and stuff like that. I said it was good to hear him and was glad he sounded good."

Swift's father, John Swift, and mother, Kate Daly, were on their way to Fort Hood, Texas, where their son was to be transferred by Tuesday, Paula Swift said. Daniel Swift intends to be back in New York by Thursday for the funeral of Sgt. Christian Engeldrum, 39, a firefighter from Ladder Co. 61 in the Bronx, who was leading the Guard unit.

"Hopefully, he can work it out and get here," Paula Swift said.

A wake for Engeldrum will be held 2-7 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, 3535 E. Tremont Ave. in the Bronx. A requiem Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, 2969 Otis Ave., Schuylerville in the Bronx.

Burial services will be at 3 p.m. Friday at Arlington National Ceremony.

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