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

Aaron J Contreras

Sherwood, Oregon

March 30, 2003

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
31 Marines Capt

Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA)-169, Marine Aircraft Group-39, Marine Corps Air Station

Camp Pendleton, California

Killed in a UH-1N Huey helicopter crash in southern Iraq.

The photo is of their combat crew in front of their UH-1N Huey helicopter in March 2003 (from left Capt Aaron Contreras, 1stLt Andrew Tuner (only survivor), Sgt Michael Lalush, and Sgt Brian McGinnis).

AP News

Aaron J. Contreras was one of five brothers, part of a close-knit Sherwood family who carried on that devotion to his own wife and three children.

"He made every effort to stay on the West Coast because that's where his family was, and he wanted his kids to be close to his family," said his older brother, Dave Contreras.

In addition, he chose to fly helicopters rather than fixed-wing aircraft because "they didn't get deployed as much," Dave Contreras said.

Aaron Contreras died March 30 in a helicopter crash.

He played football, basketball and baseball in high school. But, mainly, he dreamed of flying. "Something about getting up in the air just captivated him," said his father, Edward Contreras.

Contreras and his wife, Rosary, prayed for Saddam Hussein's capture, and Rosary described herself as ecstatic at the news.

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