Soldier with Kenai ties killed in Iraq

Posted: Thursday, January 04, 2007


  Alan Blohm spent several summers fishing a setnet site in Kenai before enlisting in the Army. Photo courtesy Diana Zinul

Alan Blohm spent several summers fishing a setnet site in Kenai before enlisting in the Army.

Photo courtesy Diana Zinul

Starting when he was 14 years old until he enlisted in the United States Army six years later, Alan R. Blohm left his Midwestern home in Kawkaw-lin, Mich., to fish a setnet site for salmon on Salamatof Beach in Kenai.

With aspirations to one day become a trooper, Blohm left fishing for the military in 2005 and last fall was deployed to Iraq.

On Dec. 31, his family learned the 21-year-old soldier had been killed by a roadside bomb while on security patrol in Baghdad. Blohm had been stationed in Iraq for about three months.

Although Blohm was born in Michigan, where his parents and siblings live, he also leaves aunts, uncles and many cousins behind in Alaska, said Diana Zirul, Blohm’s aunt. Blohm’s mother, Denise Blohm, Zirul and his grandmother come from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe.

Even before Blohm began fishing commercially, he would visit Kenai often and hang out with cousins at the setnet sight where he would later work.

The sight is owned by a longtime friend of the family, and Blohm was more than happy to work there, Zirul said.

“He was very proud of being an Alaska fisherman,” she said.

Blohm lived with Diana and his uncle, James Zirul, in Kenai when he came to Alaska during the summer and was living with them when he enlisted in the army in September of 2005.

Blohm completed basic training and advanced individual training as a combat engineer at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri in January 2006, and airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia, in February 2006.

As a member of the army, Blohm followed in the footsteps of his grandfathers who also served, one of whom had been assigned to Fort Richardson in Anchorage 50 years prior to Blohm’s assignment.

Blohm was a member of the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and was assigned to Fort Richardson in March 2006.

Prior to enlisting, Blohm graduated from Bay City Western High School in Michigan, where he played defensive tackle for their football team.

In a written statement, Blohm’s family said he strongly believed in helping others and in serving his country and that he was once quoted in a newspaper saying “The First Amendment is what makes this country great.”

Besides his aunts, uncles, cousins and mother, Blohm also is survived by his father, Chris Blohm, 26-year-old brother, Jeremy Blohm, and 14-year-old sister, Kiana Blohm.

Blohm’s funeral will be held in Michigan, but arrangements are still pending. A prayer service will be held at Fort Richardson, but times and dates are not yet available.

Patrice Kohl can be reached at

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