Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Merced soldier, 20, was killed last week in Iraq when his vehicle rolled over

November 2, 2009 |  4:05 pm

Lukas Hopper, 20 Pfc. Lukas C. Hopper, 20, of Merced was killed Friday in southeast Karadah, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over, military officials announced today.

"Pfc. Hopper's great sense of humor, devotion to his fellow paratroopers, and his dedication to mission accomplishment set him apart from his peers. He will truly be missed," battalion commander Lt. Col. Dave Bair said in an Army news release.

Hopper was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division which is based at Ft. Bragg, N.C. He is survived by his mother and father, Robin and Yancy Hopper, both of Merced.

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.

-- Maloy Moore

Here are some recent posts:

Florence Choe, 35 "I had the priviledge working with LT Choe's (Flo) husband ("Dr. Choe") in Camp Hansen Branch Medical Clinic. It always makes me laugh whenever Flo comes to see her husband because Miss Fran would always say, "God she is soooo Beautiful and very nice." Then,.. I would say, that she's (Miss Fran) just jealous. LOL! Everytime Flo walks in the door,.. she always smiles and greet us. One day, I spoke with Dr. Choe about my girlfriend at the time, and had told him that I proposed after six months of dating. Dr. Choe told me that he did the same. He said, that he loves her soo much and couldn't wait any longer. I am deeply honored to work for you and beside you Dr. Choe, and I am will be forever grateful for taking the time to say hi, helo, and for you wife's kindness and smiles. "

— HM3 Arabaca posted Monday on Navy Lt. Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon.  Choe and another Navy officer were shot and killed March 27, 2009, by an Afghan National Army soldier at Forward Operating Base Shaheen near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.


Joshua Whittle, 20

"you were the best man i ever knew i miss you so much bro"

— austin posted Sunday on Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Whittle, 20, of Downey.  Whittle was killed June 6, 2009, when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province, Afghanistan.



Michael Dahl, 23 "Michael, I am so proud to have had the privelege to know an intelligent, strong willed, determined, brave, handsome young man. Patricia, you did a wonderfull job with your boys..
I will miss you dearly, and will always be in our hearts"

— Leticia Payan posted Sunday on Army Spc. Michael A. Dahl Jr., 23, of Moreno Valley.  Dahl was killed Oct. 17, 2009, in Argahndab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was hit by roadside bomb.


Rocco Barnes, 51 title= "I received my Copy of the Drop the other day, and read the notice. I send my prayers to your family. You were always straight up and honest with me. You will be missed. May the Good Lord bless and keep your Family."

    — Mark Polson CSA posted Sunday on Army National Guard Maj. Rocco M. Barnes, 51, of Los Angeles.  Barnes died June 4, 2009, in Afghanistan of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover.



Ivan Merlo, 19 "Ivan was not only a brother,friend but my hero i thank god for leting you be a part of my life..although he took you pretty soon..he was the type of person that would give you strenght and motivation when you most wanted to give up. He went to the marine corp with such motivation and always striving to help his family. Ivan was the type of person you couldn't stay mad at he always put a smile on your face HERO I WILL ALWAY'S LOVE AND MISS YOU!!!!"

— Mayra Ruiz posted Oct. 30 on  Army Pfc. Ivan E. Merlo, 19, of San Marcos.  Merlo was killed Jan. 8, 2008, in a firefight in Samarra, Iraq.