May and June were supposed to be a time of celebration for Bryan Bolander.
The Army staff sergeant and Southern California native was due to be home from his fourth tour of duty in Iraq for his son’s birthday and his wedding to his fiancee.
But it was not to be.
Bolander, 26, was killed April 29 when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
He was buried in May at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West.
He was born in Westminster and raised in Huntington Beach and Hemet, graduating from Mountain View High School in 2000. He last lived in Clarksville, Tenn., near Ft. Campbell, Ky., where he was stationed.
Bolander was a Ranger assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Family members declined to comment.
On his MySpace.com page, with its background of a waving American flag, Bolander said he was a big fan of sports, particularly football.
Since his death, friends and family members have continued to post tributes to him there.
A fellow soldier wrote: “I would follow you anywhere. You were an awesome leader and a better friend.”
His fiancee, Sandra Beth Comer, wrote: “Baby, I thank God that He brought us together and we both had a chance to have the love of a soul mate we had both been searching for. . . . I will forever love you with all my heart. You made me the happiest woman in the world.”
Bolander had previously served in Kosovo and received several commendations and medals for his service.
His father, Greg, of Virginia City, Nev., told the Nevada Appeal that his son was a dedicated soldier who loved his work.
Still, on his MySpace page, under “Who I’d like to Meet,” the Ranger wrote that he wanted to meet President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “so I can slap” them.
In addition to his father, Bolander is survived by his son, Tyler Bolander of St. Louis; his mother, Toni Kahrmann, and stepfather, Robert Kahrmann, of Clarksville, Tenn.; his stepmother, Brenda Bolander of Virginia City, Nev.; two brothers, Brandon Bolander of Harrison, Ark., and Dustin Harris of Montana; and three sisters, Stefenie LaRue, Jenna Kahrmann and Zehrah Kahrmann, also of Clarksville. He also is survived by his fiancee and her children, Alex Dudley and Ashley Dudley.