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Air Force bomb tech killed in Afghanistan remembered for crucial service

Col. Patrick Higby, commander of the 75th Air Base Wing, said 93 American EOD technicians across all service branches have been killed since 9/11, four of them assigned to Hill Air Force Base. “Our EOD technicians on the ground are the key to winning the war, tactically, on the ground,” he said.

Kristoffer Solesbee, right, then a staff sergeant, describes identification features and safety concerns of various unexploded ordnance as Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoup shows the ordnance to Iraqi soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal Company in Iraq in a 2006 photo. Courtesy of U.S. Air Force

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Tributes, a 21-gun salute and explosive detonations customary among bomb disposal technicians were part of a memorial service Friday for Tech Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solesbee, who was killed in an explosion May 26 in Afghanistan.

The 32-year-old explosive ordinance disposal technician was described by his mother, Sandra Parker, as fun to raise, proud of his country, and in love with his job. “He got to blow things up, and he did not get in trouble for it.”

She and the fallen airman’s wife, Lilia, and father, Larry Solesbee, were among family at Dover Air Base, Del., May 28 for the return of Solesbee’s body. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery June 28.

Solesbee, from Citrus Heights, Calif., was in his 12th year of service in the Air Force, including two combat tours in Iraq and his current deployment to Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and second oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.

Solesbee was on his third war-zone deployment, which also included two deployments to Iraq, when he was killed by an improvised explosive device.

“I knew right away Kris was a great guy,” Master Sgt. Steven Hallenbeck said when he first met Solesbee. “He was a quiet guy” who was dedicated to his work and whose name became a benchmark in training, Hallenbeck said.

Col. Patrick Higby, commander of the 75th Air Base Wing, said 93 American EOD technicians across all service branches have been killed since 9/11, four of them assigned to Hill Air Force Base. “Our EOD technicians on the ground are the key to winning the war, tactically, on the ground,” he said.

“He knew it was dangerous territory infested with enemy and enemy improvised explosive devices,” Higby said. “It’s a crucial mission. It’s a mission that saves lives … and that’s why Kris was passionate about it

June 3, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , ,

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