Local Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Local Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

November 7, 2010 Updated Nov 8, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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November 7, 2010 Updated Nov 8, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

AMHERST, NY (WKBW) -- 21 year old specialist Blake Whipple of Amherst...died friday in Afghanistan. Whipple was a combat engineer assigned to the 7th Engineering Battalion based at Fort Drum in upstate New York.

Sean Whipple, Blake's brother, says that the army has told them little about his brothers death. "As far as we know...all they have told us really is that it was an IED. The blast went off...he was rushed to a hospital. Shortly after that, he died in route. Other members of his unit were there as well. From what we know they have suffered concussions essentially...but, have all been returned to either active or limited duty."

This was Blake's first tour of duty in Afghanistan. "He deployed last May. He was home for about a two week period in September for his 21st birthday actually." Sean Whipple stated.

Sean Whipple says that his brother had an infectious personality. "He was kind of a trouble maker, but he could light up a room like you wouldn't believe. My dad always said that if you put him in a room with one hundred strangers...in an hour he would have 99 good friends."

Family members say that Blake Whipple was proud to serve in the military. His brother wants people to understand how deeply Blake was committed to his fellow soldiers. "He formed a brotherhood with his soldiers. When he was home, he said that he was anxious to get back...Not because he necessarily wanted to be there...but, because when you leave...your brothers in the military have to pick up your slack. He didn't want anyone else picking up his slack."

Following an autopsy at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Blake Whipple's body will return to western New York. That should occur late next week. Funeral and burial arrangements will be finalized then.