Local News

Army pilot from Washington killed in Afghanistan

YAKIMA, Wash. - A helicopter pilot from Washington was one of two soldiers killed Tuesday in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department announced the deaths Friday of 32-year-old Capt. Aaron Blanchard of Selah and 26-year-old 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess of Fairfax, Va. They died of enemy indirect fire. They were assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Laura Schactler of Selah told the Yakima Herald-Republic her son Blanchard had been in Afghanistan about a week. He leaves a wife and two young children in New York state and his parents and brothers in Washington.

A 1999 graduate of Selah High School, Blanchard served two combat tours in Iraq as a Marine before becoming an Army pilot to fly an Apache Longbow.