Sgt. Duncan Brennan
101st Combat Aviation Brigade Journalist
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) conducted a ceremony Aug. 9 in honor of two fallen 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers.
Two trees were dedicated, one to 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter pilot, and one to Capt. Aaron Blanchard, an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Both Soldiers were killed April 23 during a rocket attack at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghani-stan.
Blanchard and Hess were part of Task Force Knighthawk, the unit that continued the aviation mission at FOB Shank as Soldiers of Task Force Eagle Assault returned home to their Families.
“We are privileged to have known and to have served with our brothers in arms, Capt. Aaron Blanchard and 1st Lt. Robert Hess,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Na-than White, 5th Battalion, 101st CAB, in his invocation during the ceremony.
“As we dedicate these trees as a memorial to them, we celebrate their lives, but also mourn their loss.”
Family Members of both Blanchard and Hess attended the ceremony. Each Family shared a pri- vate moment as they laid flowers at the base of each tree.
The trees were dedicated out of a sense that regardless of unit, when a Soldier is killed, all have lost a brother or sister.
“As time passes, and our echoes fade from this unit and this storied division,” said Lt. Col. Chuck Ram-bo, commander of 5th Battalion, 101st CAB. “Thousands more will pass through and answer the call of this great nation and will walk these very halls.
“Soon,” he added, “all our names will be forgotten. Let it be known that two will live on forever – always remembered, always honored and never forgotten.”