Gold Star dad remembers Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, killed in Kabul blast, as devoted to helping others

Gold Star dad remembers Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, killed in Kabul blast, as devoted to helping others

09/04/2021

Thousands of Afghan refugees evacuated from Kabul

Senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot reports on the Afghan refugee vetting process as some are being held at American military bases around the world.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez was among the 13 U.S. service members killed when a bomb exploded at the gate of Kabul’s airport last week as American forces on the ground desperately tried to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies amid a Taliban takeover of the country.

Lopez, 22, was born into a rich family tradition of military and community service, his father, Herman Lopez, told Fox News this week. Many of the Marine’s family members had served in the military and in foreign wars, while both the elder Lopez and his wife Alicia currently serve with the Riverside County Sherriff’s Department — Alicia as a deputy and Herman as a captain.

“Hunter always wanted to become a Marine for quite a while before he actually enlisted,” Herman Lopez told Fox News. “Hunter has several family members that are in the military.”

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An undated photo of Hunter Lopez, 22, a Marine among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in a deadly airport suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26, 2021.   
(U.S. Marines/Handout via REUTERS)

Lopez enlisted in the Marines three months after his graduation from La Quinta High School in 2017. He joined the Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, an elite part of the Corps Security Forces Regiment that is on standby to respond to threats to the Navy and the Marine Corps, and other U.S. government interests.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez was killed in Afghanistan last month.
(Courtesy of Herman and Alicia Lopez)

“He wanted to be a little more high-speed,” the elder Lopez said, adding that his son “wanted to be more involved, more technical.”

After three years in the service, Lopez was moved to Camp Pendleton to serve with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, eventually finding himself in Kabul working on the American evacuation effort in Afghanistan.

After a few days on the ground in Afghanistan, Lopez was able to reach his family and describe the scene on the ground there, telling his parents about the chaos he was witnessing.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez 
(Courtesy of Herman and Alicia Lopez)

But Lopez was also proud of the work he was doing in Afghanistan, which he saw as an opportunity to fulfill his desire to help people in need.

“He felt that he was there to help people,” the elder Lopez said. “He was telling us about how himself and his fellow Marines and other service members were helping people to get back to the U.S…. giving them food and water.”

The Marine’s father said his son also took pride in being able to reunite families that had been separated in the chaos.

“He had a lot of pride in the fact that he was there helping people, especially children,” he said.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, who was killed in Afghanistan last month, as a young boy with his parents Herman and Alicia Lopez.
(Courtesy of Herman and Alicia Lopez)

“What people should know is that these service members, not just Hunter, but all of them, are children of families that will forever be impacted by their sacrifice,” he added. “He wouldn’t have had this any other way. He would have never been able to be good with himself and able to move on if someone else would have gotten hurt in his place.”

His son’s policy of selfless service is something the elder Lopez takes great pride in, though he described the result as “tragic.”

“We no longer have our Hunter, our son, in our lives,” he said. “But he demonstrated humanity. All people should strive to help each other and care for each other and have high values, and he was able to do that in his very short life.”

Lopez planned on following in his parents footsteps and joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department when his enlistment expired next year, something his father said was a way for him to continue his desire to serve others.

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez
(Courtesy of Herman and Alicia Lopez)

“I’ve told people that he was a very average American kid, at least what we think American kids should be,” he said. “He had a dream to serve. He demonstrated that throughout his early life just by helping his friends and neighbors.”

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Lopez loved Star Wars and left an impression on everyone he met, the elder Lopez said. Most of all, he was always striving to get better at his craft.

“He was always training to perfect his craft, to be better for his Marine brothers,” the elder Lopez said. “He wanted to make sure they all came home.”

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