Area guardsman dies in Afghanistan

Area guardsman dies in Afghanistan

An Oregon Army National Guard soldier who attended Southern Oregon University was killed Saturday in Afghanistan after a bomb exploded near his vehicle, officials said.

Capt. Bruno Giancarlo de Solenni, 32, was working with an anti-drug task force near Kandahar when an improvised explosive device took his life along with two Afghan interpreters. Two American soldiers were wounded in the explosion, Guard officials said in a press release.

De Solenni, who grew up in Crescent City, Calif., enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard in 1996. A few years later he enrolled in SOU, where he joined the Guard Officer Leadership Development program. After he finished the program in May 2001, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant with B Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry.

"There was a lot of camaraderie in the Southern Oregon Guard units," said Katy Fristad, an Oregon Army National Guard spokeswoman. "(De Solenni) went on to mentor National Guard soldiers all over Oregon to encourage them to become officers."

In 2001, de Solenni's battalion received orders to mobilize near Sinai, Egypt, as part of the Multi-National Force and Observation mission, a peacekeeping force sent to monitor relations between Egypt and Israel following the nations' peace treaty.

Eight months later, de Solenni volunteered to go to Iraq and later to Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan he worked with the Counter Narcotics Infantry Kandak Embedded Training Team. Its goal was to combat drug trafficking in the war-ravaged country.

"It is an important mission," Fristad said. "The drug trade in Afghanistan helps fund the Taliban and insurgents in the country."

His team was scheduled to complete its mission in December and return home. At the time of his death, de Solenni had been in Afghanistan for seven months.

De Solenni also was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry in Grants Pass.

Outside his military service, de Solenni worked as a fisherman and a logger. His parents live in Crescent City.

Additional information regarding his funeral service will be made available at a later date, Fristad said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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