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Special Operations Soldier killed in combat

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A Special Operations Soldier was killed Aug. 4 during a combat operation in Konduz Province, Afghanistan.

MSG Jared N. Van Aalst, 34, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Van Aalst was born in Laconia, N.H., and graduated from Plymouth Regional High School in Plymouth, N.H., in 1993. Van Aalst enlisted in the Army as a signal support systems specialist on Aug. 17, 1995.

Airborne and Ranger qualified, he served with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a signal support systems specialist, an Infantryman, sniper team leader and platoon sergeant. He also served for two years as an instructor and shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Shortly thereafter, he deployed on his first combat rotation to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, then to Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. He deployed twice to Iraq in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2006.

In July 2007, Van Aalst was assigned as the chief instructor and writer to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry, where he served for one year before being selected in 2008 as a special operations team member, U. S. Army Special Operations Command.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, a third Purple Heart and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Van Aalst is survived by his wife, Katie Van Aalst of Pinehurst, N.C., daughters Kaylie and Ava; and his parents, Neville and Nancy Van Aalst of Hawthorne, Fla.

Special Operations: MSG Jared N. Van Aalst, 34