Veteran’s Day Mark’s 19th Anniversary of Blecksmith’s Passing
Nineteen years ago, a makeshift telephone chain purposefully made its way through San Marino carrying the sad news that its favorite son, J.P. Blecksmith, had given his life in service to the United States Marine Corps.
For those who knew Blecksmith, the news was of little surprise as it was likely that Blecksmith would never shy away from perilous duty. Ed Blecksmith, J.P.’s father and also a Marine, knew what was conning when officers approached the Oak Grove Avenue home where he and his late wife Pam lived at the time. That is the way Marines do thongs and how they honor those who have paid the ultimate price.
J.P. Blecksmith was killed by sniper fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq during Operation Phantom Fury. His is the last of 53 names names on San Marino’s war memorial of those who gave their lives for the United States.
Blecksmith is honored every year on July 4th with a 10K race that is held in his honor and attended by hundreds of San Marinans. The 20th edition of the race will be held on July 4, 2024.
Blecksmith attended Flintridge Prep High School, where he was an all-CIF quarterback and track star. He went on to play football at the United States Naval Academy and received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and entered the Academy in June, 1999. He participated in the varsity football program during his four years and lettered as a senior wide receiver. He graduated May, 2003 and accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After taking leave to tour Europe, he completed The Basic School (TBS) and Infantry Officer’s Course (IOC) at Quantico, Virginia. In April, 2004 J.P. was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division and commanded the 3rd Platoon of India Company. After training with his platoon for four months, the Battalion deployed to Iraq on September 10, 2004.
JP was awarded the Purple Heart, and in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton on April 20, 2005, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat ‘V’ presented to his family in front of Third Platoon.