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Army Sgt. Aaron C. Elandt

Died May 30, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Lowell, Mich.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; killed May 30 when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Musayyib, Iraq.

Michigan soldier killed in Iraq

Associated Press

PORT HOPE, Mich. — A Michigan man was killed in a land mine blast in Iraq, the Department of Defense and his family said.

Sgt. Aaron Elandt, 23, of Port Hope, died Sunday evening when the Humvee he was in struck a land mine while responding to a mortar attack, his brother Matt Elandt said. The explosion happened in Musayyib, Iraq, south of Baghdad.

“My favorite word for him was irreverent,” his mother, Linda Elandt, told the Detroit Free Press for a Wednesday story. “He did his own thing.”

Elandt was a cavalry scout with the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division and had been in Iraq for about 14 months. Lt. Col. Diane Battaglia, with the Army Public Affairs office, said Elandt’s death will be investigated, as is the case with every soldier’s death in Iraq.

The youngest of four children, he joined the military in 2000 after graduating from Harbor Beach High School in 1999.

He followed a family tradition started by his father, Paul Elandt, who served two years in Vietnam. His older sister and two older brothers also served in the Army.

Paul Elandt, 58, said he encouraged his son to travel and broaden his horizons.

“Linda said, ‘I can’t stand another one in the military.’ I told them get out of Huron County and see a bit of the world,” he said.

Harbor Beach Community Schools Superintendent Ron Kraft called Elandt “a courageous young man” dedicated to serving his country.

“He was a solid young man as a student and as a citizen,” Kraft told the Huron Daily Tribune of Bad Axe. “Our prayers and condolences go to his family during this very trying time.”

At the bar in the Port Hope Hotel, residents of the tiny community in Michigan’s Thumb mourned the death of one of their own.

Jim Hunley, 56, of Port Hope, said his son graduated from high school with Elandt.

“I’m just shocked, but that’s what he wanted to do and he gave it his all. He was a good kid. He never got into trouble. He just said, ‘It’s my time to go and serve my country,”’ Hunley said.

Funeral arrangements were pending Tuesday.

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