LocalSYR

2 Fort Drum soldiers killed in combat

Two soldiers stationed at Fort Drum were killed Tuesday while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense announced Friday.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Two soldiers stationed at Fort Drum were killed Tuesday while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

Captain Aaron R. Blanchard, 32, of Washington and Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of Virginia were killed by enemy indirect fire in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan, according to a release from the D.O.D.

Blanchard was an Apache pilot who joined the Marine Corps in January 2000. Blanchard was later commissioned into the Army in June 2009. He completed pilot training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and arrived at Fort Drum in September 2011.

Blanchard was a decorated soldier who was honored with the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the NATO medal, among many others.

He is survived by his wife, two children, mother, father and two brothers.

Hess was a Blackhawk pilot and was commissioned into the Army in November 2010. After completing his pilot training he was stationed in Fort Drum in November 2012

Hess, along with Blanchard, deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013.

Hess was also a highly decorated soldier who received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the NATO Medal, among several others.

Hess is survived by his mother, father and brother.

Both Hess and Blanchard were assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.

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