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Remembering California's war dead

November 08, 2009

Do you have a memory to share about one of California's more than 560 fallen troops? The Times' California's War Dead database at latimes.com/wardead allows you to search by name, high school, hometown and more, as well as read hundreds of obituaries and view links to personal websites and other news reports. Here are some recent comments:

"Sgt. Borjas was the first Civil Affairs team sergeant I had at the 416th [Civil Affairs Battalion]. He was awesome! I remember the first time I met him. We were both brand new to the unit. It was September of 2007. We had to take an [Army physical fitness] test. I asked him if he could run fast. He just smiled. Next thing I know he's knocking out 100+ push-ups and sit-ups and not even sweating! He ended up running the 2-mile in 12:30! Super stud but also a class act. He was a good friend and a great leader. Rico, we miss you brother."

-- Sgt. Gabriel Boudreau,

posted Thursday on Army Reserve Sgt. Federico G. Borjas, 33, of San Diego, who was killed Oct. 16, 2008, when a gunman attacked his unit while it was on foot patrol in Bermel District Center in Afghanistan's Paktia province, south of Kabul

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"Brud was my [third] cousin. I never had the honor of meeting him, but I am so proud that he took on the responsibility of protecting the rights and freedoms that we all hold so dear to our hearts. What makes me even more proud are all the memories and comments that those who did know him are sharing. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and those of all the family members Brud had who never really got to know him, but can now through your memories and stories."

-- Steve Micke,

posted Wednesday on Army Sgt. Brud J. Cronkrite, 22, of Spring Valley, who died May 14, 2004, in Baghdad of injuries suffered a day earlier when a rocket-propelled grenade struck a building near him during a security patrol in Karbala, Iraq, south of the capital

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"Well, Christopher, tomorrow is your birthday, and I will (as I do everyday) say a prayer for you and your family. Bless you for your sacrifice and continue to watch over your Mom. . . . Kat, love transcends heaven and earth, and you have enough to bring the two together within the hearts of all whom you meet."

-- Billy "Hawkeye" Mathews,

posted Wednesday on Marine Cpl. Christopher D. Leon, 20, of Lancaster, who was killed June 20, 2006, by a sniper while protecting Army troops patrolling the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, Iraq, west of Baghdad

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"I remember my trip to [California] to see Chris. He was so charming & fun. He took me to the ocean for my first time, we watched the waves & wrote our name in the sand. Sounds cheesy, but it meant so much. Lots of great memories. I will greatly miss him; he was a great person. A hero to all of us."

-- Justina Johnson,

posted Tuesday on Army Spc. Christopher M. Cooper, 28, of Oceanside, who died of noncombat-related injuries Oct. 30 in Iraq's Babil province, south of Baghdad

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"Duvi, I met you when we were both Explorers a while back. I was in shock, and still am, when I heard of this tragedy. I will always remember you as a very dedicated and great person. I would like to thank you for all of your service and all of the sacrifices that you made. I am a much better person for having met you. This world is a much better place because you were a part of it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You will never be forgotten. May the Lord bless you, keep you and look after your family."

-- M. Aguilar,

posted Tuesday on Army Sgt. Eduviges G. Wolf, 24, of Hawthorne, who was killed Oct. 25 when her vehicle was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, on the Pakistani border

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"I had the privilege [of] working with Lt. Choe's (Flo) husband ("Dr. Choe") [at] Camp Hansen Branch Medical Clinic [in Okinawa, Japan]. 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! Every time Flo walks in the door, she always smiles and greets 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 so much and couldn't wait any longer. I am deeply honored to work for you and beside you Dr. Choe, and I will be forever grateful for taking the time to say hi, hello, and for you wife's kindness and smiles."

-- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Arabaca,

posted Monday on Navy Lt. Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, who was killed March 27 along with another Navy officer by an Afghan National Army soldier at Forward Operating Base Shaheen near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan's Balkh province, which borders Uzbekistan

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