Friday, April 20, 2007

Army Sgt. Alexander Van Aalten

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Alexander Van Aalten, 21, of Monterey, Tenn.

Sgt. Van Aalten was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died April 20 in Sangin, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when a land mine detonated near his unit during combat operations.

A former Monterey resident was killed during a second tour in Afghanistan after he stepped on a mine, according to his family.

The family of Sgt. Alex Van Aalten, 21, with the 82nd Airborne Division, was notified Friday of the incident in the Kandahar Region of Afghanistan where he was stationed.

Van Aalten's mother, Susan, said the family was at work when they learned what happened.

She said her son had been in Afghanistan since January and was scheduled to be there for 15 months. He wasn't able to give many details about what he was doing, but she said she believes he was involved in a large ongoing offensive operation.

Van Aalten also served in Iraq in 2005 as a gunner on a Humvee, his mother said.

Van Aalten, who attended Cookeville High School, was born in Orlando, Fla., but spent much of his life in Monterey, about 75 miles west of Knoxville.

His mother and father, Ed Van Aalten, live in Cumberland Cove, and his wife, Shana, lives in Sparta. He and his wife had been married for about two years, his mother said.

Van Aalten's mother said he signed up for the Army after graduating from high school and went to basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia. He then was assigned to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

June would have marked his third year in the Army, and two weeks ago, Van Aalten signed up to serve for another six years, his mother said.

"He loved serving his country," she said. "He just was a really good person. He loved being in the Army. He believed in what he was doing."

Army Sgt. Alexander Van Aalten was killed in action on 4/20/07

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My condolences and respect to Alexander and his family.

Retired Dutch red baret 11th INFBAT GG,
Van Dijk