A Medical Lake soldier was killed Sunday in Baghdad, Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class Clifford E. Beattie, 37, died of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense said in a news release.
Beattie, who graduated from Medical Lake High School in 1992, was in the Army for 17 years and was serving his third tour in Iraq.
His family said he died doing what he loved, to protect the people he loved.
“He loved the Army,” said his mother, Rhonda Beattie. “This is what he wanted to do. When he left the first time, I said ‘Cliff why are you doing this?’ And he said ‘Mom, first off, it’s my job. But secondly, I’m doing it for you and dad, for my sisters, for my wife and for my kids.”
“I want you to have a safe place to be.’”
Beattie is survived by two children; his daughter will graduate high school in three weeks.
“I think he was very dedicated to what he did,” said his father, Victor Beattie. “He was very dedicated not only to the military, but he was very committed to his family and his children.”
Beattie’s mother said while his steadfastness may have been tested at times, he was brave and never gave up on anything he set out to do.
“When Cliff made a commitment, he stuck to it,” she said. “I’m sure there were times when he was scared, but he did what he needed to do.”
Beattie’s family described him a prankster with a good sense of humor.
“He was always joking around,” said his younger sister, Misty Carson. “Always smiling. Always happy.”
They also said Beattie was selfless and would go out of his way to help others. He was friendly and vivacious, they said.
“He was the life of any room he went into,” said another younger sister, Anna Beattie. “He just had a smile that would light up the whole room and laughter that was just contagious.”
Beattie was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division based out of Fort Riley, Kan.
His mother said the military was a natural fit for Beattie.
“His dad is retired military, so I imagine that had a lot to do with it,” Rhonda Beattie said of her son’s decision to enlist. “That’s all he really knew growing up in the military.”
Pfc. Ramon Mora, Jr., 19, of Ontario, Calif., also died in the attack.
As of Tuesday, at least 4,452 U.S. military members have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to the Associated Press.
Beattie had participated in a run to honor fallen soldiers the day he was killed.