Lance Cpl. Luke C. Yepsen
Hometown: Hillsboro, New Jersey, U.S.
Age: 20 years old
Died: December 14, 2006 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Marines, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twenty-nine Palms, CA.
Birth: Apr. 1, 1986
Death: Dec. 14, 2006, Al Anbar, Iraq
Lance Cpl. Luke Yepsen of Kingwood graduated from Kingwood High School in 2004 then attended Texas A & M. He left Texas A&M his freshman year to join the military with a strong desire to serve his country. He was a patriotic young man with a strong desire to serve his country and to fight for the things we hold dear. Since Luke was a strong and capable man, and armed with his faith in God, he felt the need to protect his countrymen. He was a blackbelt in Tae Kwan Do. Luke leaves behind a large extended family and a fiancé. He was 20.
1st Tank Battalion,
1st Marine Division,
I Marine Expeditionary Force,
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Houston National Cemetery
Plot: Sec S2 Site 303
A 20-year-old Marine from Kingwood was killed in Iraq Thursday, only months after he had finished basic training, his family said.
Lance Cpl. Luke Yepsen was a Marine Corps infantryman who had just completed boot camp in August before leaving for Iraq in October. He was shot during combat Thursday in Anbar province.
"He looked trim and fit and healthy, and he was real proud of his new uniform," said Jim Bailey, remembering the last time he saw his nephew. "It's all so sudden, and he was so young."
Family and friends held a candlelight vigil of prayers and songs Friday night in honor of the fallen Marine.
His parents, Sheila and Gary Yepsen, and his older brother, Kyle, 24, were joined by members of St. Martha's Catholic Church in Kingwood for an outdoor prayer service, songs and rosary. His parents asked for privacy during the service and declined to be interviewed.
Deacon Alfredo Soto said that Luke Yepsen, "died the death of a hero. He gave the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can give."
Matt Davis attended the prayer ceremony Friday night and remembered his high school friend.
"He was a real great guy. He was always having a good time," Davis said.
During their years in high school Davis recalled, "We were really into cars ... working on them, looking at them, that sort of thing."
David said that he was "very sad" for the Yepsen family.
One member of St. Martha's who attended the prayer vigil asked not to be identified but said that Yepsen was, "a fine young man. He had great love for his parents, his brother and his friends. I know that in his last letter to his parents, he wrote them that he was full of gratitude and appreciation for their love. Their faith is all that is holding them together."
Tim Hill, a family friend and Marine, said that the pastor of St. Martha's had recently announced at all of the Sunday Masses that Yepsen had been deployed to Iraq.
Church members had been praying for Yepsen, Hill said.
Yepsen had recently proposed to a young woman named Sandra Brumen. Acquaintances of the family said that she had accepted his proposal and was making plans for a wedding.