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Army Sgt. Blake W. Evans

Died May 25, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Rockford, Ill.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died May 25 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Fort Campbell soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

ROCKFORD, Ill. — A married father of two from Rockford on his second tour of duty in Iraq was killed by an improvised explosive device over the weekend, a family member and the military said May 27.

Mike Belk said his 24-year-old nephew, Sgt. Blake Evans, was killed while on patrol May 25. The Department of Defense said Evans died in the Al Jazeera Desert.

Evans was an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., the Defense Department said.

Evans’ mother, Judy Belk, is an employee with the Rockford Police Department, and his stepfather, Craig Belk, is an assistant 911 shift supervisor with the city’s fire department.

Belk said his nephew’s tour was scheduled to end in December and that Evans was looking forward to returning home on leave next month to spend time with his wife, Shannon, and his two children, the youngest of whom Belk said is turning 2 years old next week.

Belk said he did not know exactly what Evans was doing in recent days but that the tour of duty had been particularly trying.

“There was a lot of death, a lot of fighting, that sort of thing,” he said.

Belk said Evans had hoped both to further his education and make the military his career.

Evans was a 2002 graduate of Guilford High School in Rockford, according to Marilyn Hartzog, a guidance counselor at the school.

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