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Marine Lance Cpl. Javier Olvera, 20, Palmdale; killed in combat in Afghanistan

A rifleman and radio operator, he was killed by an improvised explosive device, his family says.

September 27, 2009|Anna Gorman

Javier Olvera never made plans with his friends while on military leave in Palmdale last spring. Instead, he rounded them up for impromptu trips to the beach, park and Littlerock Dam in the Antelope Valley.

"He would say it was never good to plan because things never come out according to plan," said his brother, Nery, 25.

The only plan Javier did make was to start college after four years of service in the Marine Corps. But that idea was dashed last month when he was killed in combat in southwest Afghanistan. He died Aug. 8, just weeks shy of his 21st birthday.

A rifleman and radio operator, he was killed "as a result of a hostile incident while conducting combat operations" in Helmand province, on the Pakistani border. His family said Javier was killed by an improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C. In 2007, he was promoted to lance corporal.

Reared in the San Fernando Valley, Javier spent his youth playing soccer with Nery and his younger brother, Daniel, now 14. He moved with his family to Palmdale when he was a teenager and graduated from R. Rex Parris High School in 2006. He enlisted that same year.

Javier always liked watching war movies, his brothers said, but his decision to enlist surprised the family.

"We never had anybody in our family join the military," Daniel said. "He wanted to do something good."

Javier served in Iraq from November 2007 to May 2008. He left for Afghanistan this May after a brief visit with his family in Palmdale.

Daniel said he never felt bored when his brother was around. Javier rarely watched television and only went on the computer to update his MySpace page -- most recently adding the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

"He wanted to keep things fun," Daniel said.

His brothers said Javier loved swimming, hiking and having carne asada barbecues with family.

Friends and relatives also remember him for his generosity and compassion. His brothers said Javier and a friend were on their way into a Denny's restaurant last spring when a homeless man asked for money. Instead, Javier invited the man to join them for lunch.

"My beloved brother had a good heart," Nery said.

Daniel said that when his brother was deployed, he also frequently shared his care packages from home -- filled with Doritos, candy and beef jerky -- with other Marines and with the Iraqis he met.

After he completed four years in the Marines, Javier had hoped to enroll in college to study law enforcement, his family said.

He was buried Aug. 17 at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall. In addition to his brothers, he is survived by his parents, Martha and Francisco.

--

anna.gorman@latimes.com

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