PEORIA, AZ, US
U.S. Marine Corps
CPL,B CO, 1ST BN, 3D MAR, (RCT-7, 1ST MAR DIV), 3D MAR DIV, MCBH K-BAY, HI
10/30/2004, ZAIDON, IRAQ
Corporal Lapka graduated from Peoria Sunrise Mountain High School and began studies at Arizona State University in civil engineering. He received an academic scholarship to the University and made Dean’s List. But 9-11 interrupted Chris’s pursuits and on September 17th he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He had never spoken of joining the military before, but things were different. Everything changed after the attacks. Corporal Lapka felt and expressed a deep personal commitment to protecting his family and his country.
Chris had been anxious to go to Iraq, Tina Lapka, his mother explained. “He was a Marine. That’s all he was. He was dedicated to the Marine Corps. This is what he wanted to do.”
Though his mother missed a call from Chris from Iraq on Friday she had recently gotten an e-mail and a letter. His one request: that she send care packages for six of his friends who weren’t getting packages like the ones she sent with homemade chocolate chip cookies. In addition to his mother, Chris is survived by his father, Ken and his sister, Michelle.
From the Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom site comes this entry written to Corporal Lapka:
“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 heroic. 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.”
Sergeant Jason Zoesch (USMC) Kailua, Hawaii