RELEASE NUMBER: 130613-02
DATE POSTED: JUNE 13, 2013
USASFC dedicates canine complex in honor of fallen Soldier
By Sgt. Daniel A. Carter
USASOC PAO NCO
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (June 13, 2013) – Family, friends and former team members gathered on June 13, 2013, to dedicate the new Special Forces Multi Purpose Canine Complex in honor of a 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier, Sgt. Aaron J. Blasjo.
"This Green Beret, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his Nation, did so while performing his duties as a military dog handler," stated Col. Heinz P. Dinter, 3rd SFG (A) deputy commander.
Blasjo was killed in action on May 29, 2011, after the vehicle that he was traveling in, on a mounted patrol, struck an improvised explosive device in the Wardak province, Afghanistan.
Dinter explained that for the Soldiers who have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, military working dog teams are vital to the success of the mission. Not only do they help achieve the mission goals, but in the process have saved countless lives, both military and civilian.
"Aaron loved being a military dog handler," said Master Sgt. David West, a former team member of Blasjo's.
"He was a great Soldier, a great Special Forces Soldier. He wanted to do and try everything," said West. "He came to Special Forces, and right away he took to doing everything that was necessary, always trying to go above and beyond. He was trying to be the best that he could in his military occupational specialty. He then moved on to become a dog handler, in order to increase the safety of the guys down range."
"So it's a privilege for us, as members of the 3rd SFG, to be here today and to pay tribute to Sgt. Blasjo," Dinter said, "Especially those of us who directly benefited from Sgt. Blasjo's courageous service and commitment on the battlefield."
Following his speech, Dinter and Crystal Blasjo, Sgt. Blasjo's wife, officially unveiled the memorial plaque that will be placed on the front of the complex.
At the bottom of the plaque the words read: Sgt. Blasjo and SFMPC, Special Forces multi-purpose canine, "Hunter" saved countless lives."
Mrs. Blasjo described Hunter, a Belgian Malinois, and the relationship that the two had.
"Hunter was like Aaron: he was cocky, he was arrogant, and he didn’t like to listen, which was how Aaron was," she recalled while laughing, "But I think that is what made Aaron such a great Soldier, he was very stern. [Hunter] knew when it was time to do his job and he knew when it was time to play. Hunter was an amazing dog."
Although Blasjo deployed shortly after his son Talon was born, Mrs. Blasjo says that he knows about his dad; he can tell you who he is and tell you that he lives in the sky now. In memory of his dad, Talon carries around a stuffed animal named Hunter.
"He carries a lot of his dad's personality and passion for things," Mrs. Blasjo explained while holding onto her son's stuffed animal, "He makes you smile at the most opportune times when you just want to burst into tears. He will bring a smile to your face, just like Aaron would do with all of his friends, family, and Soldiers. He would always make you smile, no matter what."
Many people throughout the Special Forces community, especially 3rd Special Forces Group, knew Blasjo and held him in high regard as a Soldier and as a leader.
"This dedication and the memorial plaque unveiled here today, will serve as an inspiration to those who follow him; it will serve as a constant reminder to us all that we should live up to his high standard of commitment, and that our continuing service must be worthy of his sacrifice," Col. Dinter said during his speech, "He represents the dedication and the selfless service that make our Regiment so great; he represents what's best in the Green Beret."