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Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew D. Blaskowski

Died September 23, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

27, of Levering, Mich.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died Sept. 23 in Asadabad, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire during combat operations.

Military: Northern Michigan soldier killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

HEBRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Two years after being wounded and rescuing a fellow soldier during combat, an Army sergeant from northern Michigan has been killed in Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew D. Blaskowski, 27, died Sept. 23 in Asadabad after insurgents assaulted his unit using small-arms fire, the Defense Department said Sept. 25.

“They told us that Matt died from chest wounds and that his camp was attacked,” his father, Terry Blaskowski, told the Cheboygan Daily Tribune. The American flag was lowered at his home near Levering in Cheboygan County’s Hebron Township.

Matthew Blaskowski had told his family last week he had four days off coming up, “and he was looking forward to that,” Terry Blaskowski said.

Matthew Blaskowski was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart two years ago, during a previous tour in Afghanistan. He was shot in the leg in a firefight, during which he pulled another wounded soldier to safety.

While recuperating at home, he told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that U.S. troops frequently encountered hostile fire while searching for Osama bin Laden.

“It has to get worse before it gets better in any war,” he said. “I think we’ve reached that point in Afghanistan.”

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in Vicenza, Italy.

A 1998 graduate of Cheboygan Area High School, Blaskowski was married in 2006.

“He worked hard and always had a lot of friends who wanted to be close to him,” said Ed Jeannotte, an accounting and business education teacher. “He treated people well, and he would stick up for other kids. He was the type that would volunteer to help, and you could count on him.”

Blaskowski played on the football, basketball and track teams in high school. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing and motorcycles, said Shirley Blaskowski, his grandmother.

“We’re mad and we’re sad and we’re tired,” she told the Record-Eagle. “He was very proud of what he was doing, but we didn’t want to lose him. He was very brave and very strong — maybe too brave.”

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