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May 25, 2008



Three up, three down. A star surrounded by the leaves.

The leadership position, Command Sergeant Major, is the senior enlisted advisor to the commanding officer and carries with it certain ceremonial functions such as caring for the unit's colors. Additionally, they serve as monitors for, and advocates of, the enlisted men in the command. This position exists in units of battalion size and larger.

On this Memorial Day, I ask that you join me in remembering CSM James D. Blankenbecler, United States Army.

CSM Blankenbecler gave all he had to give on October 1, 2003, in Samarra, Iraq. Almost 5 years ago. He left behind a wife and three children.

The most heartbreaking letter I have ever read in my life is this one, from his daughter Jessica, a child who shares the name of my eldest. It is very hard to read. So be ready for that. She lost her daddy, but in her pain, her terrible loss, she honored him so well. Far better than I. Her letter is a sweet testament to the man who was her father, the father she loved. The dad she lost.

There is a human cost to this. And some bear it far more than we do. More than me. We must remember this, remember to offer our kindness, our courtesy and gratitude to those who bear this burden, those who serve and those who love those that do. And especially, to the families and their beloved who have lost so much.

That is what Memorial Day is.

CSM Blankenbecler achieved the rank of E-9. Some of us do not know what that means. It means he was a commander of men, and women, a battalion or more. Over a thousand soldiers.

This man stood and accounted for them. He guided their service. He mentored them. And at that awful moment, he was right there with them.

CSM James D. Blankenbecler, United States Army
1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

CSM Blankenbecler was killed by RPG fire, following a roadside IED attack, on October 1, 2003.

We do pay dearly for this fight. But the ones who love them pay more, far more. For the rest of their lives, they must carry a burden we do not.

And so we would do well to remember them today, and tomorrow. To honor their gift. To respect their service. We owe them that much. More really, but at least this.

I know many of you morons have loved ones who are in, who give, or who gave. God bless them and you. Here's the guy I'm callin tomorrow to say thank you to. My pop, the big eared goof on the left. USN, Korea 1950, Purple Heart.


And yeah, the ear genes carried.

God bless you. Thank you for doing what I did not. I know you won't see this, doesn't matter. I love you dad. Talk to you tomorrow.

digg this
posted by Dave In Texas at 01:25 PM

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