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Remembering California's war dead

September 13, 2009

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 at latimes.com/wardead. Here are some recent posts:

"I am one of the corpsmen who trained with [James] for this very mission to Afghanistan. I only knew him for five or so months, but I knew him well. [He and I] seemed to mesh well together and we were always side by side together; we depended on each other. James always talked about his passion for music and how, when he got out of the Navy, he would open up a music studio and produce music. He was a great friend, a great corpsman and a great person... James was the person who I connected to the most in the entire unit, and I will miss him deeply. Rest in peace brother; you will never be forgotten."

-- Greg Reinhart,

posted Friday on Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton, 22, of Riverbank, who was killed in combat Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, on the Pakistani border

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"I started a small section in our newspaper highlighting our [Antelope Valley] heroes that will never come home. I must say that as a former Marine, your loss touches me every day. I went into harms way many years ago, and you took over for men like me and sacrificed it all. Go with God, sit on the throne of life and don't let my brother Marines up there give you too much grief."

-- Tom,

posted Thursday on Army Cpl. Ryan J. Clark, 19, of Lancaster, who died June 29, 2006, at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio of burn injuries suffered 12 days earlier when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in Ramadi, Iraq, west of Baghdad

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"I remember when Rudy came out for football; he was a hard worker -- not the most gifted athlete -- but he did what we asked and then some. And those damn black socks lol. I remember saying to myself when he gets older he can tell his kids he played ball at Baldwin Park. Now he will never get that chance. Thank you, Rudy, for your sacrifice. Semper Fi."

posted Wednesday on Marine Cpl. Rudy Salas, 20, of Baldwin Park, who was killed May 20, 2004, in a noncombat-related vehicle accident in Iraq's Anbar province, west of Baghdad

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"Javier . . . just a little over a month ago you called me, August 6th, 2009, early in the AM, a conversation that will never leave me . . . often I think about it. . . . Buddy, I miss you; so does Patty. We went to go visit you recently; we ran for you; you would have laughed @ us. . . . We went to the beach yesterday and watched the sunset for you; it was beautiful! We have been going to [Palmdale] so much, it's practically our second home now . . . We all wish you could be there with us; we need some of your random adventures -- they are missed!"

--Liz,

posted Tuesday on Marine Lance Cpl. Javier Olvera, 20, of Palmdale, who was killed in combat Aug. 8 in southwest Afghanistan's Helmand province, on the Pakistani border

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"Tyler was an amazing husband and father. I can't believe that we will never be able to spend time with him again. He will be forever in my heart. I remember all the weekends myself, my husband, Tyler and his wife spent together. We will see you again Ty; save us a seat."

-- Bailey Niles,

posted Tuesday on Army Spc. Tyler R. Walshe-Vietti, 21, of Shasta, who was killed Aug. 31 when a roadside bomb exploded near him in southern Afghanistan

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"I had the honor of being Jon's aunt. I am stunned by the loss of my nephew. He was special and blessed boy. He was so blessed in life; I thought he would come home with nothing but great stories and new friends after a job well done. He is forever in my heart."

-- Kay Storll,

posted Monday on Army Spc. Jonathan D. Welch, 19, of Yorba Linda, who was one of two soldiers killed Aug. 31 when a roadside bomb exploded near them in Shuyene Sufia, Afghanistan

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