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March 14, 2008

Soldier from Sonora killed in Aghanistan remembered at funeral

SONORA -- Family and friends packed the Sierra Bible Church Friday for the funeral of Sgt. Robert "Bobby" Rapp, who was killed in Afghanistan March 3.

The solider received a rifle salute and was laid to rest at the Dambacher Mountain Memorial cemetery.

Rapp, 22, was killed when a suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosives into the gates of an Afghan government building he was guarding, said his mother, Jennifer Rapp.

Rapp was the 23rd person from the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Sierra foothills to die in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003.

The two most recent were the only ones from Tuolumne County -- Rapp and Army Sgt. Matthew L. Tallman, 30, of Groveland, who died in August in Multaka, Iraq.

Rapp, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, enlisted after graduating from Sonora High School in 2004 as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks, his mother said. He spent four months in Iraq in 2005.

The attack happened in the Sabari District of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan and southeast of the capital city of Kabul.

The bomber also killed Spc. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown, N.J. He and Rapp were part of the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

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