Remembering California's war dead
Since late 2001, The Times has chronicled the lives of military personnel who have died while serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their stories, photos, personal websites and additional material have been collected in the California's War Dead database. Readers are invited to leave memories of their loved ones and colleagues.
Here are some recent posts:
“You were the best Rocco; a true hero, a great role model and my best friend. You went too soon my friend and I don’t know what my family and I are going to do without you around... Tristan says hi! He is going to miss uncle Rocco... The only good news is I know that one day I will see you again, and maybe that day, instead of a glass of milk, we will have a beer together. It is so true what they say; the best always leave first... I am so happy to have met you; I am so honored to be your friend. You brought so much to my family and I... I will never forget you, the times we spent together, the stories we exchanged, the good times we had, the lessons you taught me, the laughs we shared.”
“I am writing this note as if you were still here because I don’t think I could endure it to think that you have left us. I know we will see each other again in heaven; it’s just that it won’t be soon enough for me. The year and a half the you stayed with our family I will treasure forever. Josh wanted to stay in Downey to graduate with the friends he grew up with, but his family had moved to Fontana. So without hesitation our [family] took him in and he became a part of our family and us a part of his.... Thank you for your courage and bravery. I would also like to thank those that took care of him when he got hurt and to the fellow Marines that he was deployed with.... It doesn’t surprise me that he was on point. He was always rushing in head first thinking more for others that himself.”
“I met Blue and Cindy Rowe when he transferred from Germany to the 64th MP Co at Ft. Hood, Texas. He was one of my closest friends for three years while we were in the 64th. I am devastated that he is no longer with us. I had recently started trading e-mails with Cindy and planned on seeing Blue, Cindy and Andrew while he was on his R&R in Washington, D.C. You could not ask for a better friend or fellow soldier to be by your side. I will miss you Blue. My prayer and condolences to you and your family.”
—Bill Straw, posted Tuesday on Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Blue C. Rowe, 33, of Whittier, who was killed May 26 when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in central Afghanistan's Panjshir province, northeast of Kabul
“Chad, today, June 7, 2009, would have been your 31st birthday. We miss you more than ever. They say it gets easier with time. I can’t imagine missing you will ever get any easier. We met some of your closest buddies, including Cody, Sgt. Lei, Bryan, and many others, last week at Ft. Campbell. They had some awesome words to say about you; some serious and some very funny. The visit was very emotional but very inspiring. We were so proud to call you our son. We went to your stone dedication ceremony, saw the new display in the lobby at headquarters with your pictures and dog tags. We met other Gold Star parents at a luncheon hosted by Col. Johnson and his wife, went to the unveiling of the sketches of the new memorial wall, where your name will be engraved when completed, in the fall. We drove down Trimble Blvd. which they named after you.... And we also attended the Currahee, 506th Brigade Ball at Opryland Resort. It was awesome but very, very sad knowing you should have been there with your wife, not us. Bittersweet. We left sad but just as proud as ever of our son, our hero, America’s hero, always. But today being your birthday I can’t help remembering you on the day you were born and your years growing up. Not only were you an awesome soldier but you were also my precious little boy. We love you son!! I know in my heart you’re watching over us and that you know of all the respect and honors you’ve received from all who knew you. Forever in our hearts!!! Love, Mom and Dad"
—Nancy Trimble, posted June 7 on Army Pfc. Chad M. Trimble, 29, of West Covina, who was killed May 28 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb near Gardez in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, south of Kabul
“I met Holke for the first time in Camp Shelby, Miss., in March 2007 when we were first mobilizing to go to Iraq. He was always around people and was a good leader by taking care of the people around him. He didn’t complain; he just got his mission, and got it done. He was a dependable guy, and was someone you could confide in. When I got the radio traffic of what had occurred on the road in Tallil, my heart sank. We felt that loss instantly, since it was our first day of operations in Iraq and our first fatality. It was an instant ‘wake-up’ call for all of us. I keep his picture near me at work to remind myself of who I’m REALLY working for, my fellow soldiers and brothers in arms.”