New York Firefighter Killed In Afghanistan

Updated: 12-29-2005 12:21:57 PM


A 21-year-old soldier from western New York was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan when his Humvee rolled over due to a roadside bomb, his father said.

Pfc. Jason Hasenauer, who became a father for the first time earlier this month, died of significant head trauma, Daniel Hasenauer told the Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester. Hasenauer said his son, who was from Hilton outside of Rochester, was sitting in the Humvee's turret with a machine gun at the time of the accident.

"He was working at JC Penney's and he wanted to do more, so he joined the Army," Hasenauer said, describing his son as outgoing with a strong sense of duty. "He just wanted to serve and thought it was the right thing to do."

A 2003 graduate of Hilton High School, Jason Hasenauer was a member of the Hilton Fire Department.

"He was dedicated to the point where he'd been calling the fire department on a weekly basis even while in Afghanistan, and even as late as Monday just to find out was going on in the department and to say `hi,'" Hilton Fire Chief Mark Kalen told the newspaper.

Hasenauer was assigned to the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, N.C. Besides his parents, he is survived by his fiancee Collette Kopp, and daughter Kayla Hasenauer, born Dec. 2.

Brian Bartalo, principal of Hilton High School, told WHAM radio that Hasenauer "tended to put other people in front of himself." Given that, he said he was not surprised the young man enlisted in the military and made "the ultimate sacrifice."

This year has been the deadliest for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, with 91 fatalities in fighting and accidents. Overall, 208 soldiers have been killed since American forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Along with the high number of American casualties, more than 1,500 Afghan rebels, soldiers, police and civilians have been killed in fighting.