Fort Bragg paratrooper killed in car crash remembered as a ‘leader and friend to all’
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A Fort Bragg paratrooper who was killed in a single-vehicle car crash in Hoke County earlier this month was identified Wednesday in a news release from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Sgt. Raymond Lopez, 30, of Fresno, Calif., was driving near Bowmore, N.C. on 4:19 p.m. Sept. 13 when his vehicle ran off the road to the right and caught fire after hitting a tree, the State Highway Patrol reported.
Lopez was assigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, the release said.
Lt. Col. Matthew Molly, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, expressed his condolences in the release.
“Sgt. Lopez was a tremendous paratrooper, leader and friend to all in our organization,” Molly said in the release. “He embraced every facet of being an 82nd paratrooper and treated those around him like family.”
According to the release, Lopez enlisted in the Army in 2013 and completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning in Georgia.
He graduated as an infantryman in 2014, and he was assigned to 75th Ranger Regiment as a rifleman, assistant machine gunner and ammunition bearer, the release said.
Lopez was assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment as a rifleman in Fort Bragg in 2017, and was then reassigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment as a petroleum heavy vehicle operator in 2019, the release said.
Lopez deployed for eight months to Afghanistan in July 2019, returning in March 2020, the release said.
Lopez, who earned a number of awards and decorations during his career, will be posthumously awarded the Army Commendation Medal and promoted to Staff Sergeant, the release said.
Lopez’s other awards and decorations include Army Commendation Medal with Combat (C) device, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, among other Army commendation and certification medals, the release said.
“We are all deeply saddened by his tragic loss and are committed to ensuring every resource is made available to his family and peers to help them during this difficult time,” Molly said in the release.
Crime Reporter Jack Boden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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