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Army Spc. Lukas C. Hopper

Died October 30, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Merced, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Oct. 30, southeast of Jisr Diyala, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover.

Merced paratrooper dies in Humvee crash in Iraq

The Associated Press

MERCED, Calif. — Family and friends of an Army paratrooper from Merced are mourning his death in a Humvee crash outside Baghdad.

Twenty-year-old Pfc. Lukas Hopper was just two weeks away from the end of his deployment in Iraq when his Humvee rolled over Friday in a noncombat crash. He was with the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Pentagon says the cause of the rollover is under investigation.

Hopper’s family says he joined the Army after graduating from high school because he wanted to see the world. They describe him as a thrillseeker who also was a protective older brother to his two teen sisters.

When he left for Iraq, friends made a cardboard cutout and took his likeness to parties and the beach, posting images on a blog for him to see.

Funeral services are planned for Saturday in Merced.

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