Kristoffer M. Solesbee – Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force

U.S. Department of Defense

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

May 27, 2011

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The airmen died May 26, 2011,  in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

Killed were:

Staff Sergeant Joseph J. Hamski, 28, of Ottumwa, Iowa.  He was assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.  For more information, media may contact the 52nd Fighter Wing public affairs office at 011-49-171-331-4921.

Technical Sergeant Kristoffer M. Solesbee, 32, of Citrus Heights, California.  He was assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

775th CES sergeant dies in Kandahar
By Michael McFall
Courtesy of the Standard-Examiner
June 2, 2011

Kristoffer M. Solesbee died doing what he loved: saving lives.

Technical Sergeant Solesbee, 32, from Hill Air Force Base, died May 26, 2011, in the Shorabak district of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The Citrus Heights, California, native died of wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

It was Solesbee's task as a member of the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight, to detect and disarm such weapons, a duty he carried out faithfully every day he served his country, his comrades in uniform said of him at a news conference the following evening.

“He was a good guy, and he will be very missed,” said Master Sergeant Steven Hallenback, Solesbee's supervisor.

Hallenback remembers Solesbee as an energetic, quick-witted and very intelligent man. Solesbee told him he wanted to be a 30-year career man and become a Chief Master Sergeant.

“I am very saddened, very saddened,” Hallenback said.

Solesbee landed in Afghanistan in January for his second deployment. Solesbee and his unit were responding to clear a weapons cache when they were attacked.

He was scheduled to come home in two to three months. Department of Defense protocol did not allow anyone speaking Friday night to comment on any further details or what family Solesbee left behind.

But his unit was a close-knit community that looked out for each other like family.

IEDs are the No. 1 cause of fatalities for coalition forces, Hallenback said. Word of Solesbee's death has reached people all around the world, he said.

Anyone charged with removing IEDs from the military's path has the most dangerous job of all of Hill Air Force Base's deployed units, said Colonel Patrick Higby, commander of the base's 75th Air Base Wing. But the unit's successes save hundreds of lives, he said.

“I'm extremely proud of the EOD Flight unit here,” Higby said, adding that every day they serve, they save lives.

“His sacrifice and service are not forgotten, and he will be greatly missed.”

Solesbee died doing what he loved, and his unit takes some comfort in that, Hallenback said.

Four days before he died, Solesbee posted pictures he took of Afghanistan to his Facebook page. They show a man sporting a new faux-hawk, sitting out in the sun with his fellow Airmen and a picture of a dazzling explosion captioned “i make pretty Ka-booms!!!!!”

One of the last photos he uploaded shows a setting sun. He captioned it: “the dust making a nice sunset. … one day closer to coming home.”


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/02/1978
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/26/2011

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