Sgt. Raymond Lopez, 30, passed away after a single-vehicle traffic accident on Highway 401 in nearby Raeford, according to a Wednesday press release from the 82nd Airborne.
The incident is under investigation, division officials said.
At the time of his death, Lopez was assigned to Golf Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
The Fresno, California, native, enlisted in 2013 and was minted as an infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia.
He then joined the 75th Ranger Regiment, where he served as a rifleman, assistant machine gunner and ammunition bearer. In 2017, Lopez moved to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, before he reclassed to become a petroleum heavy vehicle operator.
Lopez deployed for eight months to Afghanistan in 2019.
“Sgt. Lopez was a tremendous Paratrooper, leader, and friend to all in our organization,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Molly, commander of 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
“He embraced every facet of being an 82nd Paratrooper and treated those around him like family. We are all deeply saddened by his tragic loss and are committed to ensuring every resource is made available to his family and peers to help them during this difficult time,” Molly said.
Lopez is survived by his parents.
His awards include the Army Commendation Medal with Combat device, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Expert Infantry Badge, the Army Parachutist Badge, and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge Expert with Carbine.
Lopez will posthumously be awarded another Army Commendation Medal and promoted to staff sergeant, officials said.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master's candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting. She has also written for VTDigger and New York Magazine, and previously worked as the Early Bird Brief Editor for Defense News and Military Times.