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The Mountaineer Online



Two aviation Soldiers killed in Afghanistan


Two 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, were killed April 23 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan, of wounds they sustained from enemy indirect fire.
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Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard, 32, of Selah, Wash., served as an Apache pilot.
He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in January 2000 and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January to September 2003.
After separating from the Marine Corps and completing an ROTC program, Blanchard was commissioned into the Army in June 2009. He completed pilot training at Fort Rucker, Ala., and arrived at Fort Drum in September 2011. He deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in April.
Blanchard's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal,
Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Aviator Badge, Navy-Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, four Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and two Rifle Expert Badges.
He is survived by his wife, two children, mother, father and two brothers.
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First Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of Fairfax, Va., served as a Black Hawk pilot.
He was commissioned into the Army in November 2010. After completing pilot training at Fort Rucker, Ala., Hess arrived at Fort Drum in November. He deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in April 2013.
Hess's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge and the Army Aviator Badge.
He is survived by his mother, father and brother.
 
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