Another local soldier has been critically wounded in the war in Afghanistan in a suicide bomb attack.
Friends and teachers say 24-year-old Samuel Van Kopp was struck by shrapnel while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Van Kopp is a graduate of Bakersfield High School and West Point. He graduated 10th in his class at BHS with a 4.3 grade point average.
One of Van Kopp's high school teachers describes him as a 'genius' who was committed to bettering the lives of people around him.
"He cared about the country. He cared about the politics. He cared about the military history. From the day I met him at the end of his sophomore year, he said he wanted to go to West Point. He wanted to serve and wanted to be a military officer. It was always his dream," said Don Wilmot.
Van Kopp is a platoon leader who was on foot patrol when he was struck in the head with shrapnel in a suicide bomb attack.
Right now, he is at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on a ventilator and in a coma.
Van Kopp's family told 17 News on Wednesday that they are shaken and surrounded by loved ones.