Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Army Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, 34, of Plainfield, Ind.

SSgt Blakley was assigned to the 38th Main Support Battalion, Indiana Army National Guard, Indianapolis, Ind.; killed June 6 when he was shot by enemy small arms fire during dismounted combat patrol operations in Khalidiyah, Iraq.

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana National Guardsman was killed this week in Iraq, just weeks after Gov. Mitch Daniels presented him with a Purple Heart award, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, 34, of Avon, was killed Tuesday by small-arms fire while he was on patrol near Al Khalidiyah, Iraq, the Indiana National Guard said Thursday.

During a trip to Iraq in April, Daniels presented Blakley with a Purple Heart in Baghdad. Blakley was injured by a sniper in January and returned to active duty the same day.

"The loss of any Hoosier soldier always hits us hard, but I can't help but be especially affected by this case," Daniels said in a press release. "I already had been deeply moved by Richard's courage and devotion to duty and had told his story to thousands of people. I don't know words to describe heroism this large."

In a summary of Daniels' Iraq trip e-mailed to constituents who have corresponded with him, the governor wrote about awarding the Purple Heart to Blakley, noting that when Blakley was told to take time off because of his January wound, he had declined, "insisting on rejoining his team that very afternoon."

"I have no idea exactly what I said to his assembled comrades at the Purple Heart ceremony, but hope that anything it lacked in eloquence was offset by the heartfelt admiration and gratitude which one could not help but be overwhelmed by, given the privilege afforded to me," Daniels wrote in the e-mail, according to the Indiana National Guard.

Blakley, an Avon High School graduate, was deployed with the 738th Area Support Medical Company of Monticello, Ind.

He and his wife of 10 years, Patty Blakley, had two children. Patty Blakley said she is having difficulty coming to terms with her husband's death.

"I saw on the news this morning, they had a segment on him, and to see his face on there was so hard, and I just wanted to talk to him," she said.

Some of his relatives told 6News' Linda Allen that at one time in his life, Richard Blakley was unruly and undisciplined, but he turned his life around in the military.

"If I had been in the military, he was the kind of leader, the kind of sergeant, that I would want to have," said his stepfather, Donnie Schauwecker.

Blakley's mother, Janice Schauwecker, said her son liked to ask for care packages with Pop Rocks candy because he enjoyed sharing them with Iraqi children.

Army Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley was killed in action on 06/06/06.

1 comment:

Nicole Leverett said...

I knew Rick personally...I love him so much and I'm grateful for the time that I spent with him...he was the source of my strength and always there when I needed him...he would be there for anyone. You'll always be a part of me...my life my strength. Thank you Rick. Love and Miss you!