Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Jay A Blessing

Tacoma, Washington

November 14, 2003

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Army Sgt

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Fort Lewis, Washington

Asadabad, Afghanistan.  Blessing died of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device.

DATE POSTED: NOVEMBER 16, 2003

PRESS RELEASE: Ranger killed in Afghanistan explosion

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Nov.16, 2003) — A Soldier was killed Nov. 14 in eastern Afghanistan after an improvised explosive device detonated as his unit was conducting a combat patrol there.

Sgt. Jay A. Blessing, a rifleman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash., sustained mortal wounds when the IED exploded in the vicinity of his convoy in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

Blessing, a 23-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., later died of his injuries after being medically evacuated to a combat support hospital at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

Coalition officials characterized the IED as a hostile attack by enemy forces. The combat patrol was conducted as part of Operation Mountain Resolve, a coalition anti-terror sweep throughout eastern Afghanistan.

The 75th Ranger Regiment deployed a number of its Soldiers to Afghanistan earlier this month in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Blessing entered the Army in August 1998 and completed One Station Unit Training in the military operational specialty of infantryman at Fort Benning, Ga. Blessing continued his military training at Fort Benning when he attended the Basic Airborne Course in November 1998 and then graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program in January 1999. On Jan. 28, 1999, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash. He went on to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger Course and the Primary Leadership Development Course and was promoted to sergeant in June 2002.

His awards and decorations include the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.

Blessing is survived by his father, James A. Blessing, of Tacoma, Wash., and his brother, Jason Blessing, also of Tacoma. His mother, Carol Lee M. Blessing, is deceased. 

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