RIVERSIDE (CBS) — One of three U.S. Army Green Berets fatally injured in a bombing in Afghanistan on Sunday was a 25-year-old Riverside native, defense officials said Wednesday.

Sgt. Aaron J. Blasjo died when an improvised explosive device was detonated beneath the vehicle he and other special forces soldiers occupied, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The blast also killed Staff Sgt. Martin Apolinar, 28, of Prescott, Ariz., and Capt. Joseph W. Schultz, 36, of Port Angeles, Wash.

According to the Pentagon, the Taliban attacked the men’s patrol with an IED as they traveled through the Wardak province.

Blasjo was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He had also served in Iraq, according to a U.S. Army Special Forces Command statement.

The young man enlisted in the Army in July 2004 and was selected for the elite Green Berets after extensive testing and training in 2006, according to the statement.

He had earned a number of medals and commendations, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

He is survived by his wife Crystal, son Talon and parents, Daniel and Bobbi Blasjo, of Riverside.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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