Sunday, November 10, 2013


J.P. Blecksmith
  I have a very good friend named Ed Blecksmith. We went to USC together and he was my favorite football hero. Our lives brought us together again when we re-met at the Jonathan Club in the 90s. Ed served in Viet Nam, and was very proud of answering his country's call. The war took a toll on him that he would never discuss.

His son was named J.P. Blecksmith. I met J.P., too. He was a 6'3" blond God of a young man, who grew up in San Marino and had the finest of everything. He inherited his father's love of country, graduated from Flintridge Prep and went right into the Naval Academy for college. He, too, successfully played football there. Right after graduation, in 2003, he joined the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant.

On Nov. 11, Blecksmith was commanding his troops in Fallouja in an operation to take back the city from terrorists who were killing men, women and children. He and his team were going house to house looking for terrorists. His men got attacked, and J.P. went up to the roof of a house to take command and better serve his men. By a fluke, a bullet missed his vest and entered the arm hole. It hit his body and then richocheted directly into his heart. He was dead instantly. He was 24 years old. He had everything to live for. He left his grieving parents, siblings, and a fiancee.

 Our opinions on whether this war or any war was a "justified war," don't matter. The truth is that our beautiful children are dying. Not only that, but in many cases the government doesn't take care of them well enough when they are lucky enough to return home.

Let's all take a moment today of gratitude as well as a vow to make things better.

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2006, two years to the day after Blecksmith's family heard he'd been killed in action in Iraq, the Marines renamed Pasadena's Marine Corps Reserve Center in his memory. The San Marino Tribune announced that proceeds from their annual 5K Run & Walk, scheduled for Monday, July 4, will benefit the J.P. Blecksmith Leadership Foundation at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada. On April 20, 2005 James Patrick Blecksmith was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his courage and bravery.

In a season 4 episode of NCIS, actor Mark Harmon wears a J.P. Blecksmith memorial t-shirt in the episode "In The Dark." Also, in the September 29, 2009 episode of NCIS "Reunion", Mark Harmon (Gibbs) wears a J.P. Blecksmith memorial t-shirt in an early scene.
In June 2006 Shane Fox and Leslie Mar were awarded the J.P. Blecksmith Award, Recognizing Outstanding Citizenship and Patriotism at Valentine School.
In June 2008 Tomomi Maeda and William Boutin were awarded the J.P. Blecksmith Award.
In June 2011 Madeline Hotaling and Omkar Rao were awarded the J.P. Blecksmith Award.



Anonymous said...

I received a call from my commander that we are to conduct a death notification about Lt. JP Blecksmith who was killed in the Battle of Fallujah. During the time I served in the Corps, this was the hardest tasks that I had to endure. A tremendous loss for loved once, our Corps and our country! I visit his grave once a year ... a reminder of the price JP sustained for everyones freedom!

CWO4 OBONG said...

I recall getting a phone call from my commander to prepare myself for a CACO notification stating one of our fellow Marine passed away. Losing someone son is indescribable. I have lost a lot of friends both in the service and the police service, but notifying a parent that there son is gone was the toughest thing I had to endure in my Marine Corps lifestyle.