VIRGINIA

Robert Hess killed in Afghanistan

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP/ABC7) - An Army helicopter pilot from northern Virginia is one of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan by enemy fire.

Photo: U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division Facebook

The Pentagon said Friday that 26-year-old 1st Lt. Robert "RJ" Hess of Fairfax died Tuesday in the Pul-E-Alam district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, from wounds suffered as a result of indirect fire. Also killed was 32-year-old Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard of Selah, Wash. Both soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Hess piloted Blackhawk helicopters. Blanchard piloted Apaches.

Hess was commissioned into the Army in 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan earlier this month.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and numerous other medals.

The Army said Hess is survived by his mother, father and brother.

"Our son was an amazing person... He was a natural leader and a great officer. He loved the Army and he died living his dream," his family wrote to ABC7.

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