Pentagon: Arizona soldier killed in Afghanistan

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MartinApolinar By Catherine Holland MartinApolinar By Catherine Holland

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Department of Defense says a soldier from Glendale has been killed in combat in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon identified the soldier as Staff Sgt. Martin R. Apolinar. The Defense Department said Apolinar and two other soldiers were killed Sunday when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

Apolinar was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Apolinar, 28, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004 and served as an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division at Fort Riley, Kan. He served as a rifleman, machine gunner and team leader.

After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2008, he was assigned to the Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. He served as the senior Special Forces weapons sergeant for an Operational Detachment – Alpha.

A 2001 graduate of Trevor Browne High School, Apolinar's first deployment was to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This tour in Afghanistan was his second deployment.

According to the Fort Bragg website, Apolinar's military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal with one campaign star; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Overseas Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutists Badge. He earned the Special Forces Tab and Ranger Tab.

Two other Green Berets were with Apolinar on patrol on May 29. Capt. Joseph W. Schultz, 36, and Sgt. Aaron Blasjo, 25, were also killed.

Apolinar, who grew up in Phoenix, is the second Arizona soldier killed in Afghanistan in as many days. Pfc. John C. Johnson was killed in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan on Friday.

Apolinar is survived by his wife, Elisa; his son, Martin; and his parents, Gene and Susan Apolinar, of Prescott.