They were bad missions. He knew that. We knew that. But we never said goodbye.
— Marion Hopkins, mother
Essex was one of seven service members who died Aug. 16 in a helicopter crash northeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
California's War Dead
is the Los Angeles Times' collection of stories about the 743 California servicemembers and 492 others based in California
who died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, San Diego
Landon L. Jones, 35, Lompoc
Jonathan S. Gibson, 32, Aurora, Ore.
Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24, Fontana
Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23, Santa Maria
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