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Special Forces K-9 handler
Sgt Aaron Blasjo, U S Army, and MWD, Hunter
KIA 28 May 2011
Wardak province, Afghanistan.
3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Special Forces K-9 handler Sgt Aaron Blasjo, U S Army, and his MWD, Hunter. May 29, 2011.

Sgt Aaron Blasjo, U S Army, and MWD, Hunter, K-9

DOD Identifies U. S. ARMY Casualty

Special Forces K-9 handler Sgt Aaron Blasjo, U S Army, and his MWD, Hunter, were both KIA in Afghan while on patrol in an Humvee last Sunday.  Aaron was from Riverside, CA, and was on his third tour.

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 29, 2011, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.  They were assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.

              Killed were:
              Capt. Joseph W. Schultz, 36, of Port Angeles, Wash.
              Staff Sgt Martin R. Apolinar, 28, of Glendale, Ariz.
              Sgt Aaron J. Blasjo, 25, of Riverside, Calif.
              For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army Special Forces Command at 910-432-6005.

RIVERSIDE: Ramona High grad dies on 3rd Afghan tour
Posted:  05/31/2011 10:00 PM
By MARK MUCKENFUSSThe Press-Enterprise |

Aaron Blasjo's family remembers him as a friendly and outgoing man who loved people, and as a young father wildly proud of his 2-month-old son.

Blasjo, 25, of Riverside, was killed Sunday in Afghanistan. An Army sergeant, Blasjo was on patrol in a Humvee.
He was a member of a Special Forces canine unit. Both he and his dog, Hunter, were killed in the attack.

Blasjo's parents, Daniel and Roberta, live in Riverside.

Determined to be in the Special Forces, Blasjo entered the Army after graduating from Ramona High School in 2004.
This was his third tour in Afghanistan.

"I think he wanted to do something for his country," said Wesley Blasjo, Aaron's grandfather. "He liked the camaraderie and all the things that go along with Special Forces. He was fairly small. He  was only about 5-10, I guess. But by the time he finished training he was very strong."

In fact, said Wesley Blasjo, Aaron was able to hold his own against his much larger uncle when they wrestled on the living room floor of his parent's house. The playful wrestling matches were a longstanding tradition between Darrell Blasjo and his nephew.

"I always used to tease him," Darrell said. "I'd wrestle with him and pin him down and pretend I was going to give him mouth-to-mouth. He hated that." But Darrell, a Phelan resident, no longer had the upper hand.

"When he finished his training, he got pretty tough, pretty cut," he said. When he made the decision to enter the military, Aaron asked his uncle what he thought.
"I said I thought it was a wonderful thing," Darrell said.
He recalls the transformation he saw in his nephew as he went through training.

"He had become a gentleman," Darrell said. "He learned to open the door for other people. He had a greater presence about himself and awareness that you don't see especially among today's youth. He was a very positive force, just his overall presence."

Aaron once told his uncle there were three highlights of his life. The first was the birth of his son in March. The second was the first time he leapt from an airplane in training.
"And the other was taking my car to the prom," Darrell Blasjo said.
"He liked my car. It's the last year of the Trans Am, a 2002 convertible collector's edition. I let him take it for his prom."
A member of Palm Baptist Church in Riverside, Aaron was married there in 2009 to Crystal Thompkins.

The couple lived in North Carolina near Fort Bragg, where Aaron was based. Aaron began his most recent deployment May 1, just five weeks after the couple's son, Talon, was born.

Steve Tanis, 37, a youth pastor at Palm Baptist Church, said he knew Aaron for the past 15 years. The two kept in touch.
"It was pretty shocking to hear the news," Tanis said. "Aaron is the only person I've known who has been involved in a war." He remembers Aaron as a serious kid who at one point went on a short missionary trip to Africa.
But he had lighter side as well.
"He was a funny kid," Tanis said.
"We always laughed together."
When he saw Aaron during his trips home on leave, he said, "He got stronger I guess, but there was really no change. He was still the happy guy, the funny kid."

Reach Mark Muckenfuss at 951-368-9595 or mmuckenfuss@PE.com

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