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Remembering California's war dead

August 31, 2008

"Every time I see a Rigger badge, or hear someone talking about sci-fi stuff, I think of Mike. I knew Mike, I drilled with Mike and I deployed with Mike as a fellow specialist. I trusted Mike with my life and I think of him often. . . . The fact that we are posting here after so long shows that we all care. I've been on both sides of the podium, as a speaker, a friend and as a family member. Trauma and death is what I work with in my civilian life, as well, way more than many soldiers, including trying to save the lives of people that I knew personally. That also includes having to face the pain and anger of family and friends of the dead, strangers or not. So, if you really want to compare notes . . . there is no perfect way to respond. There are no perfect words."

-- Nightstalker Medic, posted Monday on Army National Guard Spc. Mike T. Sonoda Jr., 34, of Fallbrook, above, who was killed Sept. 22, 2005, by an improvised bomb that exploded near his armored personnel carrier in Baghdad

"Spc Marisol Heredia, she was a woman full of energy and always had a great out look on life. She was a good friend and sister to the unit we both served with in iraq. She has a laundry list of friends that she always stayed in contact with and would go out of the way to make someone's day brighter. She will be dearly missed now as she was when this all happened. Thank you lil Sister. God keep you safe now."

-- Staff Sgt. Steve Domser, posted Wednesday on Army Spc. Marisol Heredia, 19, of El Monte, above, who died Sept. 7, 2007, two months after being severely burned while refueling a generator in Baghdad "Anyone that knew him will tell you that Kyle lived his life to the ABSOLUTE fullest, enjoying every single minute of what he had. Whether at a local bar here in So Cal hanging out, shooting pool, drinking beers, listening to music, playing guitar, watching stock car racing, or just sitting around talking smack to one another (he had a sense of humor that was razor sharp). . . . A day with Kyle was always well spent. There is not a day that goes by where myself, or James don't think about him & pray for him. We both miss him terribly and we always will."

-- Shea, posted Thursday on Army Sgt. Kyle Colnot, 23, of San Dimas, above, who was among four soldiers killed April 22, 2006, when mines detonated near their Humvee, setting it on fire south of Baghdad

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Do you have a memory to share about one of California's more than 500 fallen troops? Post your remembrances online at latimes.com/wardead. The Times' database of Californians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq allows you to search by name, hometown, high school and more, as well as read hundreds of obituaries and view links to personal websites and other news reports.

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