Family Thought Wynne Marine Killed in Helicopter Crash in Iraq Was Coming Home

JANUARY 28, 2005 - Posted at 2:42 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The family of a Region 8 marine killed in a helicopter crash in western Iraq thought he was coming home next week.  The marine's brother is also serving in Iraq, but the family says it can't locate him.

Lance Corporal Brian C. Hopper of Wynne was among 31 marines killed in the Wednesday crash.  A cousin of the 21-year-old marine, Donald Hopper, says the soldier was wounded twice in Iraq.  Donald Hopper says the family believed Brian Hopper was coming home soon.

Robert Hopper, the father of the two marines, says he wants his other son., Patrick, out of Iraq.  Patrick was supposed to have escorted Brian's body back to Dover, Delaware, but his father says Patrick was not there when the casket arrived Friday morning.

The father says he is distressed and told The Associated Press today he has had trouble getting information from the Marines about his surviving son.

Most of those aboard the aircraft, a CH-53E helicopter, were assigned to a unit out of Hawaii.

The military says the helicopter was on a routine mission in support of Sunday's elections in Iraq.  The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but there was severe weather in the area at the time.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)