When you think of soldiers and especially those killed in action, you generally conclude most came from the poorer parts of town. But with five young servicemen cut down in their primes, Irvine is the Orange County hometown with the most war dead from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's also the fourth best place to live in the country, according to new Money magazine rankings that would have placed Irvine higher were real estate not so expensive there.
According to figures compiled by the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (and subject to immediate change that could blow this roster out of whack), the next OC towns, with three war dead each, are Anaheim, Fullerton, Orange, Placentia and Santa Ana. Two each from Huntington Beach and Mission Viejo gave the ultimate sacrifice, while one apiece called Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Westminster and Yorba Linda home.
Broken down by Orange County high schools the young heroes attended, two each went to Irvine High, Mission Viejo High, Sunny Hills High in Fullerton and Valley High in Santa Ana. Schools with a lone war dead (so far) are Calvary Chapel High School of Santa Ana, El Dorado High of Placentia, Esperanza High of Anaheim, Garden Grove High, Huntington Beach Continuing Adult Education School, Huntington Beach High, Loara High of Anaheim, Newport Harbor High of Newport Beach, Saddleback High of Santa Ana, San Clemente High, Trabuco Hills High of Mission Viejo, Valencia High of Placentia, Western High of Anaheim and Westminster High School.
There has been only one man who called Orange County home killed in action this year. Orange's Brandon A. Meyer, the son of a Lutheran pastor, was one of five soldiers killed in Mosul on Jan. 28 when their convoy was hit by a roadside explosive.