Tributes to California’s war dead

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On this Me­mori­al Day, the Los Angeles Times pays trib­ute to the Cali­for­nia ser­vice mem­bers who have died in the wars in Afgh­anistan and Ir­aq by pub­lish­ing a se­lec­tion of com­ments pos­ted over the last year by those who knew and loved them. Hun­dreds more can be read on The Times' data­base, Cali­for­nia's War Dead.

These memor­ies speak of friend­ship and loss in a simple and heart­felt way — and re­mind us of the great sac­ri­fices made in ser­vice to this coun­try.

More than 6,000 mem­bers of the Amer­ic­an mil­it­ary have died since the con­flict in Afgh­anistan began in late 2001. Among them are 643 Cali­for­ni­ans and an ad­di­tion­al 447 men and wo­men who were as­signed to bases in this state.

Kevin A. Cueto, 23
Died June 22, 2010

Wow words cant even begin to express upon how much u will be missed kevin.. Thank u for being you and serving our country i wish u and i would have kept in touch im so sorry we didnt... I know ill see u again one day... To the family and to ally (kevins gf) im so sorry to all of u guys i know u guys are and always will be proud of kevin for all he did.. Ill always pray for you all to have the strength for everything ur going threw... I know he is watching us... Sincerely alison kilhoffer sayre oklahome

— Alison
June 27, 2010
Juana Navarro Arellano, 24
Died April 8, 2006

Years have passed, but our family will never be the same without you. We all miss you jay, I know your in a better place now, but please look after us. I honestly miss you and I wish i could have stayed with you for vacations when you asked me :/ I love you and I Miss you prima. Rip forever in our hearts

& god bless our soilders and my two cousins that are surviving in the marines

— Yessica arellano
March 9, 2011
Jason M. Weaver, 22
Died March 3, 2011

Jason, you always had that special gift of making difficult days more bearable. A long day of work always went by quicker with your sense of humor and laughter. You are and shall always remain a hero in my heart. You will be missed, but we shall meet again.

— Bernadette Pentek
March 15, 2011
Daniel Lim, 23
Died July 24, 2010

Daniel, I watched you grow up and I'm so proud of you. You were a cute little boy and then you became a young man. Daniel had a great heart with unconditional love for his family and the people in his life.His dedicated everything to provide a better future for all of us here. We miss you, but we will meet one day in a better place.

— Your cousin, Vivian
January 28, 2011
James M. Swink, 20
Died Aug. 27, 2010

God speed brother DOC. May your many impacts live on and teach all those who aspire to continue the good work of the hospital corps, and for all the families who have healthy sons and daughters thanks to your unconditional efforts to provide care and treatment in the line of fire far away from home on their behalf.

— HM3 Fisher
September 8, 2010
Jesse L. Williams, 25
Died April 8, 2007

Jesse truly loved what he did as a soldier. From deep within himself, he believed in the mission and never let any of the negative aspects unhinge his love for his country and the soldiers he lead. Thank you Jesse.

— Julio
April 8, 2011
Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez, 25
Died May 15, 2009

Well, it's been 2 years since you've been gone and I know it's still in the back of a lot of people's minds just like it had happened yesterday.. Especially Rox. She has come such a long way, you'd be so happy.. I know she misses you so much.. But she's knows that you're in a good place and you died doing what you loved, fighting for this country. You'll be forever missed! See ya someday.

— Kendra
May 15, 2011
Lyndon A. Marcus Jr., 21
Died May 3, 2004

Miss this GUY! He was a very loving person to everyone. I remember walking home from school(Hamilton) with him and his sister always singing a song from Kirk Franklin. Also meeting up with him on saturdays at Houghton park for our little singing sessions With Andrea. Miss those days! YOu Are LOved!

May 2, 2011
Victor R. Lu, 22
Died Nov. 13, 2004

Victor. I wish you were here bro. This is Dani, we both graduated from Bravo in the Class of 2000. You were one of three that enlisted to serve our country out of all of our cohort. You, me, and Sean. I'm forever thankful for your service...

— Dani Molina
November 11, 2010
Ronnie J. Pallares, 19
Died Oct. 23, 2010

Ronnie i am so glad i got the chance to know u, growing up with you was a blessing! ill see u wednedsay and thursday! happy early birthday! I LOVE U!

— Denise Braojos
October 25, 2010
Jose Ricardo Flores-Mejia, 21
Died Nov. 16, 2004

Hey Ricky, it's been almost 6 years now and here we are still missing you. We had so many great times. Now all that's left are memories. You are in our hearts always!

— Ivette
July 17, 2010
Kenneth E. Necochea Jr., 21
Died Dec. 12, 2010

We love you kenny. y ou are a example of how human being should live their lives. quiet, compasionate, loving, and thoughtful. your family will never be the same. we love you so much and are so very very proud of you

— brian
December 22, 2010
Eric A. Ayon, 26
Died April 9, 2004

I've known Eric since Jr. High School, so many memories in that time span. Eric was always the guy you wanted on your team, or in your company he always brought a smile. I will and do miss him dearly. he will always have a place in our hearts.

— D
December 8, 2010
Brian Cody Prosser, 28
Died Dec. 5, 2001

Cody, we still miss your fun spirit and think of the many days and nights you spent in our home after watching you play football with our son Bob. Diane and I were in Washington DC in August of 2010 and took a few minutes to visit your grave at Arlington. We remain so proud of your love of country and courage you demonstrated until your last day on earth. God bless you.

— Rick and Diane Garcia
January 22, 2011
San Sim, 23
Died Oct. 22, 2008

I remember standing post in the cold...we were all miserable. But he wasn't he had an unending amount of luster. He would pull off hand stands and head spins just to see you smile. It effects me even now to know he isn't out there. To all my brothers, alive or passed on, I miss you, and until we meet again, Semper Fi.

— Kevin Jordan
March 2, 2011
Rudolph R. Hizon, 21
Died Feb. 28, 2011

You were a great guy. I am glad we went through basic at Benning together and had the chance to get to know each other. Its a different type of friend who crawls through the mud, encourages you to continue when you feel you can't, picks you up when you fall down, and holds your ruck when it is too much for you at times. I was astonished to hear the news and you will be missed brother.

— SPC Roy, David
March 15, 2011
Gabriel J. Figueroa, 20
Died April 3, 2007

Gabriel, I miss you every day and I'm so glad we shared our time together. You are honestly the best person I ever met. I remember when you called me from Iraq and said that you couldn't wait to see us. I'm trying to make this world a better place and everything I do, I do in your honor. I love you Gabriel. I'll be seeing you.

— Bee Red
March 26, 2011
Jason William Moore, 21
Died May 19, 2003

I don’t even know where to begin. It is now officially 8 years since you left, and I miss you so much. I have cried all day. This 8th anniversary has by far been one of the harder ones. I wish I knew why but maybe it’s because your niece is older now and asks so many more specific questions or it’s because I have never forgotten or been able to heal. I actually never thought I would I guess I just thought it would get a little easier; not harder. I tell her so many stories about you and show her pictures. She always tells me she misses you and loves you. She also says “Its not fair I didn’t get to see Uncle Ja”. I tell her to look at your picture and never forget, and I tell her how great of an uncle you would be. She always says “I know mom” and gives me hugs. I love you so much Ja and I couldn’t miss you anymore. I wish it didn’t hurt so bad…….

— Michelle
May 19, 2011
Richard J. Gannon II, 31
Died April 17, 2004

I miss every memory with my dad he was my bestfriend and every person he ever met loved him. Rest in peace dad love you more than anything

— rj gannon
April 15, 2011
Daniel P. Cagle, 22
Died May 23, 2007

4 yrs ago today Daniel led his infantry team in search of insurgents in the al anbar province. Killed in action. I still expect my son to walk through our front door with that big smile and bear hug. Never forgotten. Daniel believed in what he was doing, and I believe I him. He fought for those who could not or would not. God bless America! Land of the free.

— Gail johnson
May 22, 2011
James D. Boelk, 24
Died Oct. 15, 2010

James was my nephew. A young man searching for his passion in life. He made his way from one venture to the next and found himself a part of the military tradition in our family. I thank the Lord that we had the time with him that we did. I wish now, that I had taken all those missed opportunities to be a bigger part of his life- but there was always tomorrow, wasn't there?

— Debra Boelk
October 19, 2010
Kyle R. Warren, 28
Died July 29, 2010

Some people forget that there is a war happening whether they like it or not. They forget the heroes that die for them and the ones who continue to fight.
I would like to thank all the military men and women who serve our great nation. I also want to thank their families who also bear a huge sacrifice.
I miss my husband everyday and wish I could hold him again in my arms. I love you Kyle and I will never forget what you did for me and for our country!

— Sandra Warren
January 24, 2011
Bruno G. De Solenni, 32
Died Sept. 20, 2008

Like so many others who knew you, my heart is still broken my dear friend. I love you forever, laugh often remembering so many things, and miss you fiercely. Peace, Bruno. You will always be in my heart.

— Aimee Jacot
March 31, 2011
Rafael Peralta, 25
Died Nov. 15, 2004

Rafael served with me as a member of my squad throughout his first couple years in the Marines. I was his squad leader and he was always reliable. When everyone else would complain, he always seemed ok with things. He truly was a marine and anyone who served with him is proud to have. Rest in peace "PG"...Semper Fidelis.

— Luke Morgan
December 1, 2010
Rowan D. Walter, 25
Died Feb. 22, 2007

Rowan we left for basic training together and we left for Iraq together. The time in between we became good friends. You were always there when someone needed you. I wish I could have been there when you needed someone the most. I will never forget you. May you rest in peace. We will meet again my friend.

— Karl Koebrick
February 22, 2011
Blue C. Rowe, 33
Died May 26, 2009

I met Blue when I was a PV2 during OIF 2005. He was one of the CA guys who made me feel like a member of the team even though I was a Signal Soldier. I will always remember him as the consummate professional and a great human being. My time serving with him in Dahuk was a highlight of my military career.

— "Raider Main"
May 26, 2011
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Source: California's War Dead

Credits: Megan Garvey, Maloy Moore, Ben Welsh