Officials with the Department of Defense have confirmed a man from northwest Iowa was one of five Americans killed in an Afghanistan helicopter crash this past week.
Twenty-seven year old Staff Sgt. Steven Blass of Estherville died March 11th, 2013. Blass died in the crash of a UH-60 Black Hawk in Kandahar, on Monday. Also killed was: 27-year old Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Henderson, of Franklin, La.; 27-year old Capt. Sara Knutson, of Eldersburg, Md.; 31-year old Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo, of Naples, Fla.; and 21-year old Specialist Zachary Shannon, of Dunedin, Fla.
All were part of the 3rd Combat Aviation Bridge stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. The military says Blass was a Black Hawk crew chief who came to the unit in August 2012, after joining the Army in March 2006. He was on his second deployment and had received awards including the Air Medal.
According to the Des Moines Register, Blass was married and had a young son. He was the first casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Esterville, a town of about 6,000. More than 90 Iowans or service members with Iowa ties have died in Iraq or Afghanistan since the Iraq war began in March 2003. Monday night’s crash brought the total number of U.S. troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for U.S. forces so far this year. The cause of the crash is under investigation.