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Remembering California's war dead

November 09, 2008

"This is a message from all of the soldiers who served with Bryan while in the Deuce. To Marcia, we are all sorry to hear about your loss; as well as to Bryan's family. We were together in the initial push into Iraq, through all of the training we had to do to prepare; he was always pushing other people to stay in and never give up. He will not be forgotten and will always be remembered. After all, he was one of the few, like we all were, who were not afraid to do the job that had to be done. Bryan, or as we called him, 'Bo,' was always happy. If I were to write out all of the things he had done, it would fill up a novel. He will be missed. As for Bryan, he had [the] bravery and courage of a spartan, but a little known secret was his compassion that he showed when no one was looking; after all, it was part of the job. I have seen too many friends come and go; I shall honor and continue to defend them all against all who talk about the war from a distance. Always smiling and always happy, that was Bryan."

-- Adam,

posted Oct. 31 on Army Staff Sgt. Byan E. Bolander, 26, of Hemet, above,

who was killed April 29 when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad

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"Josh was like my second son when he was a young teen. My son, Mike, and Josh were best friends back then, and Mike looked on Josh as his big brother and protector. Mike was 9 [and] Josh was 14 when Josh lived on our street. I never worried where they went or who they would run across as long as Josh was there. Mikey considered himself Josh's little brother. We had many fun times in the backyard at family BBQs; Mike spending the night at Josh's house, both of them pulling pranks at my cousin Claudia's house on Ryann, Mike's sister; Josh and Mike playing hockey in the street (Josh's mom always was goalie). Josh went everywhere on those skates. I don't think I ever saw him off skates for four years straight. My son idolized Josh. He still does. Our hearts were broken when we heard the news. He will always be in our hearts and thoughts. Josh's heart was huge; his presence took over the whole room when he entered. We will always and forever love our friend Joshua R. Whitaker. The MacGillivray family -- Jan, Steve, Mike and Ryann."

-- Jan Foster,

posted Tuesday on Army Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Whitaker, 3, of Long Beach, above, who was killed May 15, 2007, in a firefight after his convoy was ambushed by Taliban fighters southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan

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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 the Times' database of Californians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, which 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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