Soldier Honored: Kevin A. Bianchi
Branch of Service: Navy
Commander Kevin A. Bianchi, 40, was killed on July 16, 2003 when his MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed near Naval Air Station Sigonella in eastern Sicily. He was one of four crewmembers killed in the crash. Bianchi’s older brother, Robert, was killed 16 years prior when his own twin-engine HH-46 went down during a training mission, making Kevin’s death the second tragedy the family experienced.
Commander Bianchi had been in the Navy for 18 years and was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., where he was captain of the wrestling team. Ed Peery was Kevin’s wrestling coach at the Naval Academy. “Kevin was stocky and strong as an ox,” says Peery. “We called him ‘the block’ because of his build. He was not highly recruited but worked his way up. He really had to battle as a freshman. Peery also remembers Kevin for his “glowing personality.” “He was very entertaining and could always find a bright side and create some humor in tense situations. And we had a few of those at the Academy. One thing that impressed me was that he always showed concern for others.”
Bianchi is survived by his wife and four children.