Fallen Soldier: Christopher (C.J.) Lapka

Christopher (C.J.) Lapka
Dates: Died October 30, 2004
Hometown: Peoria, Arizona
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Corporal
Player: Chaz Aurilia

Marine Cpl. Christopher J. Lapka, 22, of Peoria, AZ was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. He and seven other Marines died October 30, 2004, when their vehicle was struck by a truck laden with IEDs in Anbar Province, Iraq.

Corporal Lapka was on a full-ride Academic Scholarship at Arizona State University, majoring in civil engineering, when the events of 9/11 happened. It took him a mere five days to give up his scholarship to serve his country. He had never spoken of joining the military before, but everything changed after the attacks. Corporal Lapka felt and expressed a deep personal commitment to protecting his family and his country. He was only in Iraq for two weeks when the attack occurred.

Called “C.J.” by his mother, friends said he was one of the bravest, strongest, kindest men you could ever meet. “He was a Marine. He was dedicated to the Marine Corps. This is what he wanted to do,” Tina Lapka said.

In addition to his mother, Lapka is survived by his father, Ken, and his sister, Michelle.