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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 992-03
December 30, 2003

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

            Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco, 28, of Texas, was killed on Dec. 28, in Qaryat Ash Shababi, Iraq.  Blanco was conducting a support mission when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle. Blanco was assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

            This incident is under investigation.