SAN DIEGO, CA and DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A Marine who was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash during a training exercise in California was from Louisiana, according to military officials.
Corporal Bryan Lauw, 21, of Denham Springs, was part of Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He had graduated from Live Oak High in 2012 and joined the Marine Corps in June of that year. He served as an anti-tank missleman.
The incident also injured 18 other Marines at Camp Pendleton Marine Base, a seaside base north of San Diego.
"The loss of Bryan and the injuries sustained to our Marines is a tremendous blow to our battalion," said Lt. Col. Christian Rankin, commanding officer, 1st LAR. "During this difficult time we rely heavily on each other and ensure the families and friends affected feel the upmost support."
Lauw's family in Denham Springs spent Saturday remembering their fallen hero.
He graduated from Live Oak High in 2012 and joined the Marine Corps in June of that year. He served as an anti-tank missleman.
"He had a recruiter come to the school and just right off he knew that's what he wanted," said his mother, Kristi Lauw. "He was pretty passionate about it and signed up right away."
While in the Marines, Cpl. Lauw was deployed with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South. He served on the USS America, an amphibious assault ship, in Central and South America. He also was recently deployed to Jordan.
Despite his tough, tattooed exterior, his family said he was still a kid at heart and could recite the lyrics from the movie Frozen.
"He loved Tangled, and he loved Frozen," his mother said.
"He was so loveable, so goofy," remembered his older sister, Ashley. "All his friends from high school remember him as the guy cracking jokes in class."
His sister said that one of Lauw's favorite places in the world was out on the water. He really enjoyed wakeboarding.
Lauw last visited Louisiana in July, surprising his family at the airport and spending two weeks at home.
"I heard his voice and I just knew he was there, and I ran to him and hugged him for the longest," his sister said. "I just held onto his neck and didn't want to let go."
Since word came of the accident, family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors have offered outpourings of love. On Friday night, Lauw's alma mater of Live Oak High dedicated their football game in his honor.
"So many prayers and thoughts, but I don't want any of this," said his mother. "I want my son back."
"The best kind of guardian angel is a Marine, and that's what I'm going to have," said his sister. "If he can't be here, then he's watching over me."
Lauw was awarded the National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, a Sea Service Deployment ribbon, a Meritorious Mast and four Letters of Appreciation among other awards.
A vigil is planned in his honor on September 14. It is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will take place at the Old Live Oak High School football field.