Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Cpl. Christopher J. Lapka

22, of Peoria, Arizona.
Lapka died due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Died on October 30, 2004.

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"Christopher Lapka was a fine young man and I,m sure an excellent Marine. My prayers and condolences to the Lapka family in the loss of their loved one and this great Patriot"
Phillip Williford of Paducah, Kentucky

"i saw your pic at the faces of the fallen in D.c i remember standing watch with you in recruit training you were a great Marine you are gone but never forgotten RIP Brother"
M Morgan Sgt USMC of Houston Tx

"Dear Lapka,
I miss you everyday. I finally got back to 1-3 this August and when I checked in to BN, I saw your picture on the wall. I tell my Marines about you, how you inspired me and about the fun I had with you, Brian and Todd in Korea and about how you and Fox are the real reason I came back to the Marines. I wasn't there when you past on but I hope that you will be with me in Afghanistan next year. I wish that I could have deployed with you guys, I'll never forgive myself for not. I miss you guys so much everyday. Tell Travis that I said Hi and I just wanted to know if he still carries those little grapes around up there too? Someday I will catch up with you and get to talk about things like we used to. Till then, just know I will never let your memory fade."
Mario Avalle of MCBH 1st Bn 3rd Marines

"Reminiscing on times past, Chris, your image comes to my mind.. I still feel your loss because you were an extraordinary person. You were meant to be somebody special, but you sacrificed for us all. I could never understand why you were so rough on me when you were my team leader. I felt like I had it the worst for all of the new joints and you constantly rode me, always commenting on the way I did my job. Untill I became a leader myself, I never understood you.. But now I do. As time has passed, I understand why you were the person you were with me. I thank you.. You have shown me how to be a leader, how to conduct myself, how not to be afraid of anything. War is ugly, casualties mass from it, i know you are one who is no longer here, but you live in my heart. Its hard to even look at pictures of you, because I miss you.. The last memory I have of your Chris is the first time you told me what a good job I did. We were on a patrol in Zadon, it was rough,muddy terrain, you came to me to ask me how i was doing, knowing I was carrying a heavy load. I said I was fine, you gave me the most sincere look, you told me good job that day. It was hard for you to tell me good job because you knew I would let it get to my head, and you wanted me, and the rest of your team to be the best. What I learned from you.. I cant even continue to explain..."
Hansel Loria of Riverside, Ca.

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott E. Steiner of Worthington, OH

"I remember when chris used to cut my lawn when he was in JR. High. He was one of those young men that never asked "how" he always just figured it out. It has taken me 5 years to leave a note to the Lapka family, but I suppose better late than forgotten. Christopher was a small package, but he has been my biggest hero throughout all of this conflict, and will forever be in my memories. Both as a kid cutting grass and as a FALLEN HERO!
Yours Honorably, Tim Tucker"
Tim Tucker of Glendale Az,

"I remember bumping into Chris when I was at Pendleton. I was just getting out of a movie, and he was just going in. I didn't realize he had gone into the Corps! He told me he was going to Iraq. I had just got back from there, and told him to watch his 6. We chatted for a little bit longer and we went our seperate ways. If i had known that would've been the last time I'd see him I would have said something different. There hasn't been a single day I haven't thought about him. His courage will forever be remembered by me! Semper Fi! Ooh Rah Devildog
LCpl Sean Campbell
USMC 2000-2004
Veteran of Foriegn War"
Sean Campbell of Merced, California

"I will always miss my friend Chris. His loss lives in me every day. All I can do is my very best in gaining as much college education, and remembering Chris every step of the way, in fact, doing this in memory of Chris. I miss the Lapkas very much, and hope to see them again soon. I spread the story of Chris to everyone I meet. I can only hope the anguish of his family is slightly assuaged by the fact that his brothers wiped that city of Fallujah clean, then burned it. Love you Tina and Ken, and Michelle."
Todd Rogers of Troy, N.Y.

"Four years today, and yet I still am unable to write or say how I feel, you will never be forgotten, I miss you Chris, I miss you everyday. Ken, Tina and Michelle, I hope you are doing well, sorry I am so bad about keeping in contact, but know that all of you are always in my heart."
Sgt. Bryan Huddleston/USMC of Sandy, UT

"September 30, 2008
To the family of Cpl. Christopher J. Lapka:
Christopher gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Every day, when I pass Christopher's memorial, he is in my thoughts. He will not be forgotten. Peace be with you."
Cheryl Nichols and Family of Peoria, az

"Dear lapka family i enjoyed the years on the soccer field with michelle i am so sorry for your loss i wish i could have been there to support you guys i love you guys and you have always been caring to me and my family I will always keep you in my prayers and will always remember what christopher has done for our country my husband is now serving in iraq and i know that what ever happens that love is there you guys are great and thank you for everything and i am always here if needed."
Sarah Hamlett (hughes) of peoria,Az

"I was Chris' squad leader up until his passing. I spent several afternoons with him and his best friend, Dave Coan, on liberty barbecuing on Windward Oahu prior to our departure to Iraq in 2004. We also went through scout swimmers course together where he was the only Marine to get a perfect score on the written exam that granted us our certification. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss Chris. I knew him only for about a year and from the beginning it was apparent that he was [and still is] the type of man that can be easily admired. He was a better Marine than I will ever be. Selflessly, he made all of our lives better for just simply being Chris, and he did this everyday he was with us. He was the most giving person I have ever known, and I am lucky to have ever met him. He will NEVER be forgotten by myself or anyone that ever knew him. He will remain, forever, synonymous with what I view to be heoroic. Christopher J. Lapka: a man who volunteered, was a true leader, was loved by all, was smarter than most, will be remembered as constantly smiling [even in the crap of Iraq], as one who kept even the grumpiest of us laughing, who never-failed, never-complained, always gave it his all, and constantly desired to make the lives of those around him better."
Sgt Jason Zoesch (USMC) of Kailua, Hawai'i

"To fallen heroes."
Cpl Hymel C. J., USMC of Houma, LA, USA

"Dear Lapka family, I am sorry for your loss. I am a student at Apache Elementary and I walk past his memorial almost everyday. I am proud to be an American and will forever be indebted to him and all others who have fallen for my freedom. God bless America!!!!!"
Morgan E. of Peoria, Arizona USA

"Lapka Family,
You all know how much I adored Christopher.When I think about my childhood days, all that I can think about is my BooBoo. He would kill me now if I called him that.Even though it's been over a year now since he's been gone I can't not break into tears whenever I hear "One More Night" by Phil Collins.He died doing what he wanted to be doing and I am forever greatful for his courage.He was an amazing man. He had and will ALWAYS have a very special place in my heart.I love you all!!!!"
Jennifer Stehower of Phoenix,AZ

"you were a great leader and an inspiration to us all. may u rest in peace. Your teachings and everything u showed me help me be a better marine everyday"
Lcpl Loria of california

"""As a veteren of K Co 3/3 and a very short stint (2 Months with G Co)(1986-1990)MCAS K-Bay it saddens me to hear of the loss of my brother Marine but I know he left us bravley fighting to keep my family safe from the evils of the world keeping with the highest traditions of the Corps. I'm now to old to reenlist but if I could I would."""
Lcpl. Robert Blaylock of Lakeside CA, USA

"Mr. and Ms. Lapka I went to school with your soon and wrestled and played football with him. He was a smart and tallented young man. I am sorry to see him go. But he will always be remembered as a hero to all"
Popoff of Phoenix,Az, USA!

"To the Lapka Family...

We have never really got to communicate, altough we were in close proximity to each other in Hawaii. Our children became friends...Our daughter's name is Holly.

It's been nearly a year now, I wanted you to know that your family is in my heart, and in my prayers. I still wish we coould bring them home....

Nan Byrd (Lance Corporal John T. Byrd II) (Tommy's mom)...Nan Byrd"
Nan Byrd of Fairview, WV/USA

"To the family of Christopher J. Lapka I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May the peace and understanding that only comes from God be with you. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ."
Polly Ballew of Covington Ga

"To Ken and Tina

I have visited with you the last couple of times I have come home from California and I am glad that you all are doing better as time goes by. I can't help but think about Chris almost everyday. I only ate lunch with him at school but I knew he would make you all proud. Chris is the first friend I have ever lost and I am glad to see from all the support you have recieved that it was not in vain. When I go back to the memories of high school I only use to remember the bad things and the people that annoyed me. Now when I go back I always remember my lunch hour and the few good times and friends I had. Chris has showed my that life is too short to be angry with the past. Your son's sacrifice ensures that we will all be able to sleep safe at night in this country. For that I am indebted to your son's memory. If there is any thing you need at any time just let me know.

CPL David M. Graf
USMC / SEMPER FI
BIGWAVEDAVE2333@earthlink.net

There is a line in a song that always remind me of Chris, "I Go Back" by Kenny Chesney.

To the loss of a real good friend.
And the 16 summers I shared with him.

I didn't spend 16 summers but I guess it is the meaning that counts."
of Fallbrook, CA (Soon to be good old Peoria, AZ)

"Tina, Michelle and Ken,
I can't imagine the pain you all feel for your loss. I had the fortune of knowing C.J. for two years as he taught me how to wrestle in High School, and I have to say I have never met someone as smart, honorable, and driven as he was. I can only hope that you are comforted by the fact that I as well as many others share your pain, and that C.J. died doing what he wanted to do the most, protecting those he loved."
Wes Openshaw of Peoria, AZ

"Tina,
Thank you for your message. I'm glad you recieved my card. Please do email me at casieeasterlin29@hotmail.com. If you wouldn't mind, and you have pic of Travis w/ your son, I would love to have a copy. Thank you. God bless."
Casie Fox Proud Marine Wife FOREVER of Lcpl Travis Fox KIA 20041030 Iraq of Greer, SC

"My heart cries with you. My son LCpl Andrew Riedel died with your son on Oct. 30th; I will remember always that our son's will be together in the kingdom of God forever. We must show strength and courage as our sons did. If you are willing I would like to have your address; mine is; 9808 Rapp Lane, Northglenn,co,80260
In Christian love
pmm of LCpl Andrew Riedel"
Sherri Busch of Northglenn,Co

"Tina, Ken & Michelle,
There are no words to adequately express our sympathy for your loss. Christopher was a special young man and watching him grow up with the rest of the Class of 2000 from Sunrise Mountain H.S. was a priviledge. He will be forever remembered for his courage and selfless sacrifice for his family and his Country. Christopher is a HERO and remember to take comfort in that. He is remembered in our prayers along with the rest of your family."
The Schilling family of Peoria, Arizona

"Tina, I recently "adopted" six of Christopher's buddies through the group "Supporting Our Marines." Letters and care packages are on the way to these 6 young men in honor of Christopher and will continue as long as they wish. My deepest sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your beloved son. He was a warrior and did not die in vain. pwilson374@aol.com"
Patricia Wilson of Crosby, Texas

"To the family of Christopher Lapka,
I did not know him but my husband was with him on Oct. 30th, leaving behind me and our two small children. I do not understand why these things happen. They are all HEROES and WILL NEVER be forgotten."
Cindy Courtney of GA

"It's Thanksgiving day... My thoughts and prayers are with you today... and with Chris. I'm thankful for his heart, I'm thankful for his smile, for his wisdom, I'm grateful I was able to become friends w/ him. I'm thankful that he had a wonderful family. Thinking.. Remembering.. Missing.."
Shelly Ogren of Tempe AZ

"To the family of Christsopher;

Our sincerest condolences for your loss. Christopher is a true American hero and will always be remembered by us for his bravery and ultimate sacrifice he gave to our country. OUr family has also suffered the loss of my nephew in this battle for freedom. May God bless you during this difficult time."
Vic and Tammy McClain--azquail@att.net of Tucson, AZ

"Lapka family, I went to school with your son and can not say that I knew Chris extremely well, but I can tell you that I am so proud of him and will continue to think of him and what he did for all of us. God bless."
Lesley Matchison of Peoria, AZ

"Tina, Ken, and Michelle,
Hi to you all. I am so sorry I wasn't able to visit with you while I was in AZ for the funeral. I pray for you every day, and know how much of an effect Chris had on all of our lives. He was one of the most dedicated and heart-driven people I've ever met. Praise God that we all were able to know him as long as we have. It was amazing to see how many lives he touched at the funeral, and I want you to know, that representation of people is not even half of the lives Christopher has affected with his sacrifice. I will continually pray for your family..."
Alaina Schilling of now: Portland, OR/ previously: Peoria, AZ

"Corporal Lapka, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"My friends and I often talk about the heroism and courage it would take to be something greater..an American soldier. Hopefully all Americans work towards these traits that Christopher so apparently had. Know your family and friends are in my prayers."
Mike of Wyoming

"To Christopher Lapka's family and friends:

I did not know him but my husband died with him, LCpl Travis Fox. My prayera are with you all. I know what you are going through.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

FOREVER, PROUD MARINE WIFE! OOORAH!"
Casie Fox of Greer, SC

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Christopher, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"RIP Tufelhunden..

The Taylors in NC, USMC"

"To Ken, Tina, and Michelle: I just want to let you guys know how completely sorry I am for the loss of Chris. I knew him my whole life and he was truly an extraordinary human being. Not many people would have given up what he did to go and join a war, but he wasn't many people, he was Chris. I'll always pray for your family and I'll never forget my big brother's best friend. You have all my love."
Jackie Boser of Peoria, Az, USA

"To Christopher's parents, my name is Aaron Childs and I wrestled and was friend of CJ at Sunrise Mountain High School. I am very sorry for your loss. I pray that the Lord will give you comfort in this time. I will always remember your son and his sacrifice."
Aaron Childs of Phoenix, AZ/USA

"To Christopher's Family, I do not know you, but my son is a United States Marine currently deployed, and a Sunrise Mountain Graduate too. My heart breaks for you, and you have been in my prayers. I understand exactly what you mean when you say he died doing what he wanted to do. When I speak to my son, that is what he tells me every single time. I just wanted you to know, that the Marine Families are here for you, as is the rest of your community. God Bless your Family!
Tamara H. Rohde, Marine Mom of Lance Corporal Brian K. Smith"
Tamara Rohde of Peoria, AZ

"My deepest sympathy, our family has also suffered the loss of a precious life in this battle for freedom. May God bless you and help you through this time. Forever in our hearts a HERO Christopher J. Lapka."
Amy & Aaron Monier of Waterford, MI.

"With Heart felt continued prayers for you and Christopher on his Journey to become a right hand Soldier of God, he gave his ulitmate for ALL OF US, to you all of his family thank you for raising such a Brave Young Hero.
He is truely a Warrior of God now, and I can only imagine the pride you have in him. Please know we are proud to have such a brave young man do this for his Country. I to have a very special partner in my life deploying shortly and this news of losing Christopher who was part of Our Marine family was very difficult to hear, remember you will always be part of Our Marine Family. You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers always."
Elsa A. Estrada of Monterey Park, Ca

"To Christopher’s Family,

I am profoundly saddened to hear of Christopher’s death. He is an American Hero and I have the greatest respect for his commitment to our country and his dedication to help preserve our freedoms. Please accept my condolences and may your memories of what a wonderful person Christopher was be a source of comfort.

Thank you Cpl. Christopher J. Lapka you made this world a better for all of us. May God bless you and keep you close"
Proud Marine Mom, Lois Dold of Peoria, AZ

"I would like to thank all of you that posted messages about my son Christopher. He was a very special young man. I truly appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. My only solace is that I know that he died doing what he wanted to do. Fighting for his beloved country. Protecting his family as well as his fellow Americans. There will forever be a huge hole in my heart, but the wonderful memories that I have of Christopher will last forever. Once again, thank all of you for your messages."
Tina Lapka of Peoria, Az. U.S.A.

"Your family is in our prayers daily. The sacrifice Christopher and your family made for us and our country will never be forgotten. We are proud to have been blessed with Christopher as an Apache student, and he will be in our hearts forever. May God bless you and keep you all."
Karen Schlueter of Peoria, AZ

"Nothing we can do can replace Chris but I want you to know that my 2nd grade class and I will pray for your family's strength every day. You gave our country so much...you gave us Chris!
Love and prayers (always)"
Mrs. Mary Hanson of Peoria, AZ/USA

"Tina and Michelle I am so glad that I had the pleasure of knowing such a wonderful young man. I admire and appreciate Chris going to battle to protect my freedom and rights as an American. He will never be forgotten, but always remembered fondly.
Love,
Dortha Fudurich"
Dortha Fudurich of Frontier Elementary School, Peoria AZ

"Chris will be remembered as a brave young man who gave his life for what he believed so strongly in--freedom and safety for America. Apache remembers Chris for his kind ways and his determination. You are in my heart and my prayers."
Pam Kensmoe of Peoria, AZ/USA

"You May be Gone, but not forgotten. May you rest in the presence of angelic joy."
Ms. Lopez of Glendale, AZ

"We honor your family as Chris has given the ultimate sacrifice for his beloved country. We thank Chris for what he has done for freedom's sake. We will never forget the love your family has shared. Our hearts and prayers are with you."
Darcy Forst and family of Glendale, AZ

"To the family and friends of Corporal Christopher J. Lapka,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, California

"I didn't know him well, but CJ went to the same high school I did, and it hits home when someone I knew from around campus is gone forever. His sacrifice really puts things in perspective. Your death was not in vain...

Here's a toast...to our fallen comrades"
JD Larson, C3C, USAF of USAF Academy, CO

"To the friends and family of Cpl. Christopher Lapka,

There are no words that can possibly ease your pain but please know that many across this country are grateful to your son and you. His bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Please accept these words as a token of my heartfelt sorrow for your loss.

Respectfully"
Rebecca of Los Angeles

"To the family and friends of Christopher J. Lapka:

Christopher and I went to high school together. We didn't talk much or know eachother that well, but when I heard the news from one of my friends from high school about his death in Iraq it really hit me. I can't describe how sad it makes me to see him gone. From one soldier to another God bless you Christopher and your family."
Jason M. Wright (A1C, USAF) Stationed at Ramstein AB, Germany of Glendale, AZ USA

"To Christopher's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"To Christopher's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To the family of Christopher J. Lapka
Our family would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to you. We share in your pain. Our son Sgt. Andrew Brown was killed on Oct. 8. Our sons gave their lives for our country. They are true American heroes. That does not lessen the pain. Hopefully time and prayer will help. We will keep you in our prayers."
Lourdes & Bill Brown of Pleasant Mount PA

"Thank you Christopher Lapka, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Cpl. Christopher Lapka:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Christopher for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Cpl. Christopher Lapka:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Christopher, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on