Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler

40, of Alexandria, Virginia.
Blankenbecler was in a convoy that was hit by an improvised explosive device and rocket propelled grenades in Samarra, Iraq. Blankenbecler died of his injuries. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on October 1, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler.


Final letter to Command Sgt. Maj. James Blankenbecler
Hood soldier's family thankful for community support and help
Hundreds mourn death of command sergeant major
Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"It is 12:07 AM here in El Paso, TX and Memorial Day has arrived. I have been trying to leave messages all weekend but the site has had issues. I am going to hurry incase the site crashes. I just wanted you to know that you, as always are being thought of."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Swinging by to let you know you're being thought of this Holiday Season. I am glad more people are finding these pages and reflecting on the times they had with you and how you impacted their lives.

Merry Christmas."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Hello my beautiful husband. My friend Inge is here from Germany this month and we’ve been talking and crying over our husbands. I miss you so much even after almost 20 years. You always told me not to worry about the would a’s , coulda a’s, and the should a’s ,but I do. I wonder always how it should have been. How it could have been and how it would have been with you here with us. I love you husband. Until we meet again ."
Linnie Blankenbecler of Harker Heights Texas

"CSM,you were my first 1SG. I will never forget your lessons to me, be it quiet and threatening or loud and prideful, they all still resonate with me today.
The last time I saw you was at Ft bliss, you saw me while I was in school and had somewhere to be. Your entourage was moving you along, you made them stop and made time to have a 15 minute convo with me about my career. Thank you, since then I never looked back, and am now going to retire a CW3, I hope you are proud of me. It is hard knowing I cannot reach out with an invite to my retirement ceremony, to see you be proud of me again like you were when I was a private and sooo close to beating you in a boot shine competition you instigated.
You had more of an impact than you will ever know, thank you! You were truly a leader for everyone to emulate!"
CW3 Luis arias of Ft bliss

"Memorial Day 2023

It's been nearly two decades, but I still remember the lessons he taught us and his selfless service even before his ultimate sacrifice. May God continue to Bless our country with men and women who serve our great Nation."
Charles Cannon of Northern, VA

"Memorial Day 2023. I was passing Logan Heights the other day, they’ve built a middle school up there now. With the housing and the gym no more running into the darkness and dodging drainage ditches.

It is nice to see your page getting some activity. You sure made a heck of an impact. I’ll drop back in soon. Thanks for watching over yours and helping make us a little bit better."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"JD, you are not forgotten...rest in glory Brother; I'll see you on the other side,"
Tony M. of Brooklyn

"My sister, Joanne, and I, visit this page from time to time over the years. The three of us went to Groveton Elementary together. We are closing on 60 years old now but remember Jim with a great deal of fondness. He was so funny and kind- and tall! We adored him. Years ago when we found out that Jim was fallen, we cried. His spirit truly has transcended time. Joanne and I send our love to Jim's family and friends."
Gretchen (Tupy) Orr of Columbus, Ohio

"Jim...You've been in my thoughts lately brother, actually, I think of you often and how your life was cut short. Miss the laughs we had as well as the serious talks and the BS too... I know your up there doing great things and I'll see you again someday down the road."
David W. Burns, CSM, AD, Retired of West Hamlin, WV, USA

"It is Christmas Day, 2022 and we are through with the phone calls with families are done and the food smells amazing. I of course have the games on, and my wife is cheering on the players she likes. She doesn't have a team, she likes players. Why am I posting this here. Because you're supposed to be home doing this with your family and your children who are grown now. You're supposed to be enjoying your favorite team and leaving messages on pages for those who fell in the service to their nation. I am leaving this here because had you lived, we would have retired, eventually only recalled one another in passing conversation and been none the wiser to where we were in life. I post here because I am dedicated to maintaining a vigil and letting anyone who passes over this know, that somebody cared. That you made such an impact that you deserve to have somebody swing by and say, "Merry Christmas, miss you Brother." You're not forgotten."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Veterans Day 2022+1 Sorry I am late. I was really not wanting to do this anymore as it gets so heartbreaking. I know, drink water. (J/k) I pulled myself u though and here I am. Thank you for being who you were."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, Tx

"As I scroll down alphabetically towards your name from time-to-time. I find myself having to stop and gaze upon names and tremble hoping that names like “Berend, Barbieri and Bauer” are of an age that couldn’t possibly be the men I served with over the years. It sounds terrible I know but my Lord to know so many is just gut wrenching.

Tomorrow will be Memorial Day 2022. I cannot fathom the idea of a date like that being born in the 1960s. And here you’ve been gone nearly 19 years. I’m so very sorry that the sacrifice made by you and so many others could not open man’s eyes to the tragedy that is war.

I am thinking of you and so many others this year. Thanks for being an incredible leader, amazing human being and mentor."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Stopping by to acknowledge your sacrifice at Christmas. I'm without a doubt we could use you here right now. The world is kind of a mess. I'll stop by again Brother, thanks for everything."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Veteran's Day 2021. In our thoughts."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Just a "Hello" Boss. Thinking of all of you."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"So over lunch the other day Heather (My wife) and I were talking about how things this past year have been so very rough on so many. How so many were taken without so much as setting plans in place for the next step if such tragedies ever occurred. Heather wasn’t with me when you moved your family into temporary housing on Zuni Circle on FT Hood before you departed and sadly came to the end of the road.

We talked about how your wife hustled to get things set up and it was literally just “Go, go, go” from day one. It wasn’t meant to detract from what others were going through but it very much put into perspective how nothing is guaranteed. We all of course wish things would have ended differently and you’d be someplace with you family enjoying the spoils of your hard labor.

Just wanted you to know you’re thought of this Memorial Day."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

"I went out to the National Cemetery on Bliss the other day to visit a buddy who is tucked away behind the child care center, post office and old commissary. Though the view of the mountains is somewhat blocked by those buildings you can still see WBAMC and some of where Logan Heights once stood.
I remember while at ANCOC they had dedicated a room to you in building 2 and we sat in a couple times and I always looked at your photos. As I drifted off from the droning and dragging classes and reflected on getting there. One always caught my eye of you outside a building on Logan Heights.
Wearing woodlands, tall and skinny. Not the man I saw park late at night in the driveway across from my home on Hood. I see it has been a while since anyone visited here. However I am certain that all across the country you are thought of often. So as I stood there talking out loud to my buddy and pretty much all the stones around him. I wondered aloud if each stone might be a portal that lets us communicate for a brief moment with those who have gone before us.
I gathered myself and smirked at the grated pathways showing few visitors out at the cemetery. My old coins left on his stone now in the gravel and turning colors. Then you see pinwheels clattering in the distance on other graves and people in lawn chairs with shade making a day of it and you just hope that somewhere and sometime you and the others will get that if not just for a few minutes.
Thanks for taking care of so many. We could use a few more of you these days."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Swinging by this Veterans' day 2020 to drop a Salute and let you know you're thought of Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Swinging by to let you know you know you are being thought of Brother. Looks as though that is quite obvious looking at post prior to mine. You touched a lot of people. Thinking of you this Memorial Day."
Wiliam L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Memorial Day 2020 JD...you're still alive in my mind's eye view...I'll look for you on the high ground Brother.

"1SG, “Top”, James, Jim-
Im visiting family in Texas getting ready to fly home to Virginia Beach. I was looking down at my arm at a black metal band. Inscribed in it is-
(On the left) 1/62 ADA crest
(On the right) the electric strawberry
(In the middle)
27 JUN 1963 - 01 OCT 2003
Til Valhalla Brother
I sent this to Jessica this morning-
I wanted to wish you and your family a happy belated Thanksgiving .
I served under your father in Hawaii when I was assigned to B 1/62 ADA. Af the age of 19, I joined the Army, a lost soul. My parents raised me well but due to events in my childhood i started to drift away. I remember the early morning greetings on the lanai outside my barracks halls on the second floor above the Battery Command. I remember more the wisdom, knowledge, and lessons your father blessed me with. He helped mold me into the man I am today. I didn’t learn until a few years after he made the ultimate sacrifice that’d he’d passed. I was devastated and heartbroken. I did what I did best and boxed up the pain. About 10 years later, These stowed away boxes of painful events began to take up too much room in my mind. I went to the VA a little over a year ago to start dealing with them. Progress is still being made thanks to your father. He showed endurance, perseverance. He showed any obstacle could be overcome. In October I found a org on FB calle The Valhalla Project. Thanks to them i can look at my arm everyday and feel strength, security and wisdom. If I think I might make a wrong decision, I look down at my arm and think WWJD- What Would “Jim” Do. 💚"
Daniel Srebro of Virginia Beach, VA/ US

"I just found out today what happened to my 1SG. 20 years later. He was a soldier’s soldier and chewed my * on a couple of occasions and it made me a better officer. I served with him in the 25th ID."
Mark Langham 1LT XO Bravo Battery 1/62 ADA of Mobile Al

"Merry Christmas Brother."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Just a hello on this Memorial Day 2017 Weekend. Wishing for different circumstances."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX. USA

"Merry Christmas Sergeant Major."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"As another year passes you are still on my mind. CSM, 1SG, SFC you have been an inspirationn for me over the years to train our troops the right way. Now that I am retired and a police officer I still use what you have taught me when talking to the public and fellow officers.

Thank you and you are always remembered.
Steve Goodwin 1SG, US Army Retired"
Steve Goodwin of Frisco Texas

"8/31/16 - sitting in my office and Blank crossed my mind today. Man I was lucky to have this cat in my life when I did. Great mentor and friend. Still think about him all the time."
Joe Beard of Dallas, TX

I HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING CSM IN IRAQ WHEN HE TOOK OVER AS THE BN CSM, HE VISITED MY PLATOON IN TAJI IRAQ, I REMEMBER HIM SAYING TO US THAT we never gives a soldier an option to give up. He was the greatest NCO I ever met. CSM I think of you everyday and I know you are looking down at everyone that you touch.
God Bless you. Your family and friends. You are always missed."
Jonathan Holmes SGM (Ret) of Madison Alabama

"Miss you man."
Charles Cannon of Fort Belvoir, VA

"I tell you what Sergeant Major, I cannot think of a period of time that goes by where your name does not come up and everybody for a moment has that look of sadness, regret and hopelessness but then all of a sudden the smiles come across faces and memories get shared. It was such a shocking kick to the Branch that woke up a lot of people but man-o-man you left a legacy and people who genuinely adored you. Normally after going through name after name here you get pretty beat down and feel mighty low, 16 are a lot of names one has to go and leave a comment for. Yours however tragic your passing was is a relief as you were so loved, ARE so loved and though it is crippling the sadness of losing you the purpose and adoration you had for us carries through the community to this day. Thank you Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Merry Christmas CSM James D. Blankenbecler; I only wish you were home with family and friends this holiday season. God Bless and thanks as always."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

My thoughts always turn to you on this day (1Oct). Hard to believe another year has gone by, but that day will always stay with me. You will never be forgotten and you will always be the Soldier I strive to be-Rest in Peace."
MAJ Mike Wacker of CJTF-OIR

"Until two days ago I was unaware of this gentleman's name. I was a Soldier in the 411th MP Company whose squad was standing by to hand off a large fuel convoy to a sister company late that night about 45 minutes from Tikrit when we heard the explosions beyond the bridge. I was just a PFC then but will never forget the peace this man was in as, who I assume was his commander, reinforced to the CSM the love his family had (has) for him. Upon the arrival of the bird I remember saying a prayer for him and his family as we placed him in. Since my discovering of CSM James D. Blankenbecler from my old squad leader, I have been reading so much about this great man and am proud to know his legacy lives on. God bless him, his family and those he so greatly affected. Air Assault!"
SFC James Bacon of Copperas Cove, TX 1st Army

"CSM (I will always remember you as 1st Sgt)I will never forget the day I found out about our losing you. I think about you often. You made a hell of an impression on me that I will carry for life. You had faith in me beyond what anyone had ever showed in me before. Not only did you set the example of how to be a soldier, but also how to be a good man. I remember how much you loved your family. I remember the respect and dedication you had for each and every soldier who served under you. I can honestly say that, in many ways, I have conducted myself in life based on what I saw in you. I went on to serve as a police officer. I try, every day, to demonstrate a level of professionalism that you would be proud of. I could write a thousand words here, and never come close to giving you the honor that you deserve. I hope that you are still keeping an eye on me, and that you are proud of what you are seeing."
Troy Stuck/ Police Officer of Santa Barbara, CA

"Just swinging by to let you know you are not forgotten. You made such an impact that is still being seen today and from time-to-time you name still comes up in the halls of our Battalion. Thank you for showing us what “right” is all about."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Thinking about you today Blank...I know you are still watching over me."
Joe Beard of Dallas, TX

"Miss ya CSM. See you soon"


A lot of time has passed since that dreadful day, but you will always be remembered as a helluva Soldier and great friend!"
Scott K. Oakley CSM (R) of Fort Bliss, TX

"My thoughts and prayers go out to CSM Blankenbecler’s family on this day. I knew CSM Blankenbecler a very short time-but he made a lasting impression on me that I will never forget. His professionalism and leadership set the standard for all to emulate. He is greatly missed."
MAJ Michael Wacker of Fort Hood, TX

"Blank.........you remain in my thoughts still to this day and serve as a guide on the way I try to conduct myself everyday. I miss you partner."
Chet Allen of El Paso, Texas

"Thinking of this wonderful Soldier today. Wishing prayers of love on his family and thankful to have known him. LTC(P) Ward."
Owen of The Pentagon

"I had the honor to serve with Jim while serving as a Paratrooper with him. He was the consummate professional and warrior and I literally put my life in his hands on numerous occasions. It broke my heart to learn of his passing. His family has my deepest condolences."
CSM Carlos Martinez, USA ret of Jamestown, NC

"God bless the family of CSM Blankenbecler. The time I always remember and at times try to emulate, is when I had a mishap at Air Assault School, I was terrified to have to face the "1SG". It was not out of fear but because of knowing I let him down. He got his point across to me about the failure not by yelling and swearing, but by talking calmly and instilling the "proper soldiering mentality" in me. I always remember that and I also remember my last encounter with him when I was in BNCOC at Bliss. He saw me and came to congratulate my progress, and shared some words of encouragement.
He was and still is in most ways the "model" of soldiering for me and I wish he was still around to have the same influence on not just Soldiers but all that he met. He is greatly missed, I still wear an ID Tag on my chain with his name on it. Miss you CSM, CW2 Arias"
Luis Arias of 82nd ABN DIV

"Swinging by Sergeant Major to let you know you are thought of and respected. I sure miss you and the man you were and enjoy working along side the men you raised to be professionals and hold those we depend on to do what is right to the standard. You are missed but I see you in formations and ceremonies and the day-to-day routines that make ADA work the way it does."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

"My deepest condelences to your family, I can't believe its been 10 years since I heard this terrible news, I was in Afghanistan when this happened. I remember you when I was your supply sergeant in HHB 1-62 ADA Hawaii. I was so scared when they said that you were going to be the 1SG. I still remember the time that I had larangytis and you called me into your office after formation because I didn't sound off, I was terrified! CSM you were one of the BEST 1SGs that I have had in my military career. May you rest in peace and you are NEVER FORGOTTEN."
Lehua Johnson (Pittman) of Honolulu, HI

"CSM,I will always remember our last conversation in Iraq. You were, and still are, my mentor. I will never forget the day I was told of your passing. Thanks for all the advice on being a leader and for all the free lessons on the golf course. One Team!"
1SG George Palmer of FOB Shank, AF

"To the family of CSM Blankenbecler, It has almost been ten years since you lost a wonderful man. I served under him in 1/62 ADA in Hawaii. He was always a wonderful, caring man who talked of his family and how much he loved them. He cared immensely for his troops too. The one thing I remember him telling me once when I was having trouble with a soldier was, "I know when someone is BS'ing me; send him in, I'll find out the truth." It broke my heart to hear of his passing almost ten years ago then I got out of the military the next year. My husband saw his dedication at the Academy and snapped a picture for me, I am so glad he is honored. May God keep you always. He will always be remembered. I brag about his leadership, dedication, work ethic, and professionalism to my husband and my children still."
Julie Caldwell (Calbreath) of Colorado Springs, CO/USA

"So today is Memorial Day, a day in which many again will fire up the Barbeques and fish or simply relax in their homes and amongst friends. Yes a couple of years ago I started a correspondence just like this and no I won’t go on a rant about how I feel the people of our nation don’t fully understand what our Republic stands for or used to. I will only release a sigh of a good many emotions for your sacrifice.
Would I rather have you all back in our lives and hoping to hear from you once again, certainly but I understand what your sacrifice meant and hope for those for whom you gave it will carry the brilliant torch of an idea forward into that uncertain night. I am truly respectful of that sacrifice and am honored to have you as friends and colleagues and thank you for all you have given.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln or John Hays (White House Secretary)
“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
God Bless."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Rest in peace James, it was an honor serving with you. Thank you for your sacrifice."
MSG (ret) Charles Cannon of Fort Belvoir, VA

"I went to school with Jim from elemetary through high school.Jim was always a leader,on the football field and with his group of guys known as the "bucknell boys".I grew up in the bucknell area.When we all go our separate ways after school,no one knows what life has in store for us.Jim became a leader after school as well,I was very sad to here about Jim's passing,he was a true American hero!!! RIP Jim,thanks for your service!!"
Rob DeLay of Springfield Virgina

"CSM, Thank you for everything you have tought me over the years. I have often reflected on your guidance and it has guided me well throughout the last 9 years. I was asked not to long ago who my mentor is and with a heavy heart I am proud to say your name. I have yet to find a leader who touched so many people, but made that individuals experiance seem genuine and personal. Thank you again and let us never forget a true Hero and friend."
MSG Stephen H. Goodwin of V Corps G3 Protect Operations SGM

"Gone too soon! May God rest your soul and continue to bless your family. From one soldier to another, Rest you earned it!"
MSG (ret) Charles E. Walker of McDonough, GA

"Blank, I still sit in my office and think about our days in Hawaii. Great times! The kids and I will be out in Hawaii next week to visit your memorial."
Joe Beard of Rowlett, TX

I remember when I first got to Hawaii in 2000. You told me I was ate up. Hard to admit but you were right. You always cut to the chase and never sugar coated anything. So I set out to prove you wrong. I went to the Promotion board and the Soldier of the year board in the same day. You made me rap the Army song. ;)..After I won the SOY board and I found out I got my "P", I saw you in the hallway and I asked you if you still thought I was "ate up"? I remember you smiled and told me to come get with you later on. For one reason or another I never got around to it and you PCS'd. I have often wondered what you would of said? I am filled with regret that I'll never hear it from you, but I truly hope I have made you proud. You were the best coach, teacher, and mentor, a knucklehead like me could of ever hoped for. Thank you for everything and God bless your family."
1SG Israel Rock Reichard of JBLM, Washington

"My name is mauris thompson I had the honor to serve under SGM Blankenbecler in Hawaii in B 1/62 ada hq platoon he was a great leader and a great man who took care of his (Joes) as he would call us the thing I will always remember about him the most was how he would take care of our problems in house like a family. One young soldier was having some real tuff financial problems and was being overwhelmed with bills and just irresponsible spending habits that just made problems 1Sgt (at the time) called a meeting one afternoon and brought all the nco s together and without telling us who the soldier was asked us all if we could pitch in and help get this soldier back on his feet and I will always admire him for that rest in peace SGM you are truly missed"
Mauris Thompson of Los Angeles, california

"Just stopping by to say you are thought about often and today as with everyday you will be in a good many people's smiles, glimmers and on there lips as they recall those who gave all for this thing so few understand."
William Peterson of Ft Bliss, TX


I think about the CSM all the time, not a day goes by where i don't cause this war still continues. CSM was a very good friend of mine abd was always there for me and anyone else who needed his professional leadership, thank you for the coin he never got hold and for having us in your home after the service if you need anything just give a shout we're here in El Paso you all will be in our prayers.

v/r R. Maggot (915)328-9853"
MSG Robert Maggot of FT. Bliss, TX/ U.S.

"Mrs. Blankenbecler,

Even though it has been almost eight years since the Army lost one of it's best Soldiers, I still think about CSM Blankenbecler often. I don't know if you remember me, but we spoke just before your husband deployed. We lived in the same neighborhood and attended the same church. You asked me to: "pray for him because I don't have a good feeling about this one". I'll never forget those words. They say that women can sense things when men can't and I believe it. That was the last time you and I spoke until I heard the news and saw you at Fort Hood. I want you to know that he has had an impact on my life. I remember him putting all of us (BNCOC instructors)in a classroom and showing us films on those heroes who gave their lives for our country..... now he is one of them. I miss him. Thanks for sharing him with us. I hope all is well.

Charles Cannon of Fort Belvoir, VA

"Jim it is amazing how time has passed - it is hard not to remember such a great American like yourself - the photos and stuff in my office ofter remind me of our assignments together "especially Hawaii" or when I go out and play Golf - even then you were a calm coach as you whipped my butt. Time certainly has passed and I can leave you this "you have certainly left a great legacy". God Bless my friend - Rich Clem"
Rich Clem of Fort Bliss, Texas

"I am the Senior Instructor for the ADA Advanced Leader Course in Fort Sill, OK where NCOES is now taught. I just wanted to let everyone know that the Distinguished Honor Graduate for the Advanced Leader Course (formerly BNCOC) and the Senior Leader Course (formerly ANCOC) is now the CSM James D. Blankenbecler Distinguished Honor Graduate. It is a mouthful, but we feel it is important to remember our fallen heroes in the Air Defense world. My condolences to the family on your loss."
SFC Spencer D. Knight (580) 442-6523 of Ft. Sill Oklahoma

"Met CSM Blankenbecler and Linnie briefly at the III Corps HQ in OCT 03, was excited to serve with him in Iraq. Never got to serve with him as he was killed before I arrived. I continue to remember CSM Blankenbecler. He is a reminder of the painful price of freedom. He was a great American. Linnie all I can say is I am personally sorry for what you and your daughter have been through."
MAJ Frank L. Nieto of Rome, Italy

"CSM was a superb student, truly bright and insightful. I knew him briefly and only from the course he took from me in the MBA he had just started; but I can say without reservation that he had one of the finest minds. It was an honor to know him and all of us at his school give our love and prayers to his family."
Dr. Steven Gold of TUI University, Cypress CA, USA

"I wanted to leave a message today, Memorial Day 2010. Jim was a classmate of mine at USASMA. I will always take a moment on this day to think of him. Jim, you are not forgotten. Rest in the arms of angels my friend."
Phillip of Hereford, AZ

"Combat Battery, we will always remember...Combat Knife (SGT. Alex Balderas) OIF I in your memory and all those fallen my heart we will rejoin someday..."
Alex Balderas of Boise, Idaho

"I have made a facebook page in the memory of Jim. I was a schoolmate of Jim's from the 3rd grade until we graduated from high school. He is still very much missed in our community and we wanted to have a place to write our memories of him. Everyone is welcome to join. Linnie, I never met you or your children and I can only imagine the loss that you feel. I have many stories and memories about Jim and would be glad to share them with you someday. If his parents are still alive, give them my regards. Your husband was a true American Hero and will always live on in our hearts and minds. A link to the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/cindy.redding?ref=profile#!/pages/In-memory-of-Sgt-Maj-James-Jim-D-Blankenbecler/115245651849369?ref=sgm"
Cindy Redding of Alexandria, VA

"A Memorial page has been set up on Facebook by friends from school."
Charles Woznak of Alexandria, VA

"The Bucknell Boys still think about you and miss you!!!!"
One of the Boys of Alexandria,Va

"Seargent Major Blankenbecler and family:

It's going on 6 years since we lost you in Iraq and it is still in my head and heart as fresh as a morning day.I will never forget when I met you for the first time in Tikrit after I had gotten back from a mission. I was a young Specialist and you put your arm around me and asked me "how are you Spc Santos?" I told you that I was ok and just couldn't wait to make it home.Then you asked "What would you like for Christmas?Is there anything you need that you would like?" I told you I wanted just a cd player nothing fancy just something I can play my cd's on. You said "A cd player oh ok then I will see about getting that for you for Christmas ok?" I said Roger Sergeant Major Hooah and that was that. Then on a rare quiet night First Segeant Yarborough burst into our palace and screamed "EVERYBODY DOWNSTAIRS NOW!NOW!" We all gathered around and he began to pace calmly but as if thinking of choosing his words correctly. He told us "Gentlemen I brought you downstairs tonight to give you some bad news. We are in Iraq and we all know bad things happen but something happend that hit home. Sergeant Major was returning from seeing a trooper getting promoted and his convoy was attacked. Sergeant Major died tonight" It felt like time froze for 3 seconds and it crushed my heart,and every bit of me that is human. At the time I didnt know what it was to lose anyone during a war and much less how war was. The world showed me in that instant how devastating and ugly life and the world can be,that War is a Hell on Earth full of tragedy.I always remember you Sergeant Major and my other comrades PFC Cody Orr,SPC Genaro Acosta,SGT Jeremy E. King,SSG Bryant A. Herlem, and SSG Daniel Bader.I always have you all in my heart and mind everyday especially during Military holidays.I remember in Iraq my Lt. and I would return from a convoy mission deep in Iraq and we would be shaking from the fear still and we would look at one another and say "Are you ready?" (meaning time to smoke a cigerette to calm our nerves) and we would pull out our cigerettes and smoke and ponder on what we went through that and every other day. And to this day anywhere I am at home,at work or with my family and I go and have a smoke and I am alone I made it my personal for lack of a better term "sacrement" to you guys and think of all of you and am thankful that I served with you and that I made it home yet I feel guilty for it but I am doing the right things now in order to respect your sacrifice for giving your all for our freedom.I think of times we talked and laughed and what the conversation was about while we smoked.And well just know that you are never forgotten never by me..it's constant. Your very special to my life. I know you guys are in heaven because you've already served your time in hell.With abiding respect SSG SANTOS, ALEJANDRO JR. U.S. ARMY"
Alejandro Santos Jr of Fort Sill OK

"A lot of memories in Hawaii of Jim, from plt sgt time to 1sg time, but I will always remember when he told me never to quit as I asked him to sign my packet for SFAS
Adam Upson

"To the Blankenbecler family our thoughts and prayers are with you. Our son SPC Michael J. Reed just graduated from the "Warrior Leaders Course" in Fort Bliss Texas. He just finished a 15 month tour of duty over in TAIJI Iraq and now preparing to deploy to Afghanistan soon. I only met CSM Blankenbecler through others that served with him (SGM Phillip Parham) who has since retired and information that was shared by the current Commandant of the "Warrior Leaders Course" at Fort Bliss Texas. The "Warrior Leaders Course" has a room that has been dedicated to this great "Hero". Its people like CSM Blankenbecler that live in our hearts so they will never be forgotten. I served 24 years in the military and retired after some good friends and soldiers made the Ultimate Sacrifice during time of war/conflicts around the world. During my visit to the "Warrior Leaders Course" I was upset to hear the room could possibly be closed in the future but I pray it will not. I had a long conversation with the current Commandant who said he would do everthing in his power to keep the room opened as long as he was around. It only made sense that we do this in honor of a "Fallen Comrade". The room itself leaves you speechless and the letter from "Jessica" really captures her love for her father as he served our Nation. It reflects some of the sacrifices made by all family members as their servicemen and women as they deploy in harms way to keep our Nation secure from all threats. I didn't know him personally during my 24 years of military service nor did I have the pleasure of serving with this great soldier, this great American. But the day I visited the Warrior Leaders Course in Fort Bliss Texas to honor my son at graduation, I also had to stop and honor this outstanding leader/soldier. I will never forget him nor the Ultimate Sacrifice he made for us all. God Bless the Blankenbecler family for their sacrifice to this Nation."
Ken (Big Dog) Reed (U.S Army Retired) of Sierra Vista, Arizona

"Your still remembered CSM Blankenbecler, thank you for your sacrifice.

Jared Wyniawskyj of Ephrata, PA

""Though I came into theatre after his death, I was in Fort Hood for his memorial. I met his wife and listened to his daughters speach. I want you both to know I still think of you and pray for your family, he was a good man and a good CSM.""
R. Bradley of NM

"I only had First Sergeant Blankenbecler for a short time as i was attached to his platoon in 1-62 ada. we didn't agree on much, but yes he was a good first sergeant. i got chills soon as i seen this just a few minutes ago. I got out of army in march 03'. sad to see this, sorry for your losses to the family."
PVT. Jarrett of WV

"Blank my Friend,

My thoughts are always with you. I watched the game earlier this year as your Redskins whipped up on the Cowboys and thought about you throughout. As we prepare to travel to Washington this week for a rematch - I know you would have loved to rub the victory in. I miss you and think about you all the time my friend. Your drive, attitude and passion drive me every day."
Mike Allen of El Paso, Texas

"Blank- I miss you man! Everyday you still push me to be better than the day before. Thx"
Joe Beard of Rowlett, TX

"This is for, Joanne, mother of Jimmy Blankenbecler. Dear Joanne: Jimmy's birthday is this month and I am sure it is a very painful time for you. No mother is supposed to outlive her child and no one who has not lost a child can even imagine your pain and sense of loss. I want you to know that prayers of comfort and strength are coming your way. Not even death can come between a mother and her child - Jimmy's spirit will always be with you. Part of YOU is in Heaven and one day he will be at Heaven's gate to greet you."
Alice Butler-Short of Lorton,VA

"Linnie there is not a day that goes by that Rick and I forget the sacrifice that Jim made for his country.
Rick & Dawn Starkey"
Dawn Starkey of Ft. monroe

"To Mrs. Blankenbecler.

I would very much like to write a memoriam of James, this Memorial Day weekend.

I don't know if you ever saw this, prob not but I think your son and your nephew did and I hope and pray it was appropriate.


Mrs. Blankenbecler, as a dad with two teen daughters, my eldest who shares the name of your own Jess, I assure you my intentions are good. You may decide for yourself if it's not what you want, or too difficult, or I'm a goober. Entirely up to you.

Thank you.

David R of Temple

"April 23, 2008
To the family of Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler:
James gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"To the family of Jim Blankenbecler,

I met Jim at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy when we were students. We were in Class 53 and had one small group together, Leadership Phase. I know it may sound cliche but Jim impressed me as a true leader, no need for a Leadership Phase to prove that point. I remember some humorous times in that class, he and all the CSM designates sat on one side of the classroom and the SGMs sat on the other. No special reason, we just joked about that small item. I will not ever forget Jim. His death jolted the Sergeant Major Academy when we got the news. I regularly toast fallen comrades and Jim remains a focal point for that toast. Lost but never forgotten."
SGM Phillip G. Parham, Ret. of Fort Huachuca, AZ

"To the family of:James D. Blankenbecler I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"I'll never forget how ol' 1SG B used to push me to my limit during my time with B 1-62 ADA. When I thought I couldn't carry my ruck another step he always seems to appear out of nowhere and
'urge' me on during those wonderful light infantry footmarches. Although we occasionally had our professional "differences," he tought me many lessons and provided a good model for fellow NCO's to follow and always treated me with respect. I was saddened to hear of his fate but relieved to know that he now serves with the highest ranking commander of all."
SFC (ret) Glenn Hazelton of Rohnert Park, CA

"Already its been 4 years. I love you. Time does help but then at the same time it doesn't at all. I thank everyone who has posted for sharing with my family.
My beautiful husband....I miss you. I still can't believe this has happened, even 4 years later....
Your wife,"
Linnie Blankenbecler of Killeen Texas

"Wow. It seems like a moment in time I was at Ft. Hood, and felt the blow of CSM Blankenbecler's passing. I had been a very dedicated civilian nurse, and James was very concerned about his family new to the base. Linnie, I have had something for you all I made for a few years now....got married, moved to Jacksonville, and found it again. please contact me, I'd really like to get it to you. Thank you for being the family you are. It inspires me so. mrskatbrown@gmail.com; kathleen.brown@med.navy.mil"
Kathleen W Brown of Hampstead, NC

"I wrote a song that I'd like to share with everyone who knew CSM James D. Blankenbecler. I wrote it for him.

Joseph of NYC

"Hi Linnie, it's Alison M. from Honolulu Hawaii. My daughter Heather was in "Breakout" with your son, Joseph.

My heart is with you and your family. I'm sure there are no words I can say that can take away your grief. Just know that we are thinking of you and your family. Please know that you are surrounded by people who love you and you only need hold out a hand and anyone of us will be there to hold you if you need us.

We still live in Hawaii and my husband and I still serve in the military. I am extremely proud to have met James.

God bless the men and women of the military services. Since peace in the land seems so far away, I pray for peace in our hearts. I pray that the people who covet this war, have a "light bulb moment" and end all of this suffering and bring our troops home.

Aloha o'e"
Alison Maldonado of Hickam AFB, Hawaii

"It's been a rough day. Just thinking about you. And missing you more than ever."
Joseph, your son. of NYC

"It has been a long time since I have thought about my days in the service and to just find out 4 years to late of the demise of this great man it makes me wonder if I had ended my potential career to soon. He was a great soldier and a great person to talk to if you had troubles on your mind. I had the pleasure of serving with then First Sargent Blankenbecler in B Btry 1/62 ADA stationed at Schofield Barracks Hawaii. I learned a lot from him on how to be a good soldier and also how to be a good person. He was never one to take shortcuts when it came to the training of his soldiers or was he one to be unfair if a soldier made a mistake. I will always cherish his memory and the times we shared and only wish the best for his family. May he rest in peace and my he never be forgotten for his sacrifices made for his country."
Russ Davis (SPC Davis) of Moscow, Idaho. USA

"Keep strong...and keep talking to your father as he is always looking over you. God Bless you all...Master Sgt Paul Knoblock-Air Force Special Operations"
Paul L. Knoblock of Fort Walton Beach Fl

"People say that time heals, but I still can't believe you're not here. Every trip to Hawaii my 6 year old asks when we are going to visit your memorial. I know you're watching and I'm trying my best to make you proud."
Joe Beard of Dallas, TX



You and your family will always be in my mind and heart. I have Jim's picture in my office and constantly reflect on what he meant to me. I really miss my friend. I read Jess' letter and watch the dedication video - and show them to keep the memory of my hero alive. I imagine the pain will never end for you........as I know it will never end for me. Please email me when you get a chance at "retiredada@yahoo.com"."
Mike Allen of Portsmouth, Rhode Island

"Here we are, January of 2007. I'm sitting here looking at your picture...your beautiful. I've grown so much being with you and now being without you. I love you husband. I know you feel me."
Your wife Linnie

"CSM Blankenbecler,
Sir I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading your daughter's letter to you and all the reflections left here for you, all I can say is that I wish I had the opportunity to have served with you because you sound like what an NCO is supposed to be.

"Per Ardua"(Through Difficulties)
44th ADA Motto"

"To the Blankenbecler Family. I originally met CSM Blankenbecler when I went to ANCOC. He was, at that time, the BNCOC Chief at the NCO Academy at Fort Bliss. I met him again in Tikrit after he gradusated from the USASMA. His inspiration and genuine care for the well being of soldiers was just one of his outstanding traits. We went from having mediocre NCO leadership to having great NCO leadership in the matter of two days. I now work at Fort Bliss and have the priveledge of visiting his memorial room every time I think of the loss of him and the soldiers in Bravo Battery, 1-44 ADA. I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing him with us."
SFC Dowdy (RET) of Fort Bliss, TX

"I had my first real conversation with CSM Blankenbecler when he was the Platoon Sergeant of Third Platoon, Bravo 1-62, and I was a young team chief in Second Platoon. I had a discipline issue with one of his soldiers and wanted to pursue UCMJ action against him. (Then) SFC Blankenbecler approached me and said "I know what he did was wrong Sergeant, and if you want to go ahead with the Article 15 I'll back it, but I would appreciate it if you would let me handle it in-house." Then he left the decision completely up to me. I was overwhelmed with the amount of respect he showed me and I decided to go ahead an let him handle the issue.

I have no idea what he said to that soldier, but I received the most sincere apology I've ever gotten in my life from him the very next day. It was at that moment, I knew Third Platoon had an incredible new Platoon Sergeant.

I was thriled when he became our First Sergeant and was honored to serve with him. He was truly one of the finest and most professional men I have ever met in my life. Hardly a day has gone by in the seven and a half years since last we spoke that I haven't thought about him. He taught me so much not only as a soldier and an NCO, but as a man. I credit much of my success as a civillian to lessons that were either taught to me or reinforced by CSM Blankenbecler. He exemplified everything good about the Army and about professionalism in every sense of the word.

To the Blankenbecler family: I am so sorry for your loss and I share in your pain. I don't know if you have stayed in Texas, but I expect to be at both Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in the not too distant future for work. If you are in either of those areas and you would allow me to take all of you out to dinner, I would be honored. I can be reached at mhendrickson@lightlinetech.com"
Matthew Hendrickson of Spotsylvania, Virginia

"You will always be remembered."
O.D.D. of Austin

"I was born and raised in Alexandria and just learned of James' death while reading a book. Although he grew up in Arlington - we probably shared similar experiences growing up as I am only 4 years younger than he was. The fact that he represents our hometown makes me especially proud and grateful for his sacrifice. I will always count him as our own personal hero and venture for our community to never forget what he did for all of us."
Ron Hilton of Alexandria, VA

"I knew James a long time ago and really miss him. I am really sorry he had to leave us the way he did and not be the happy man he would have liked. my question is to linny. when did you meet Jim? I am sorry you are having to deal with his death. As well as Jessica. I am sure his memories are still with you and his dreams"
Ann of Alexandria, VA

"Mrs. Blankenbecler and Jessica,
I am a missionary serving in Ukraine. I receive my Texas Monthly magazines about 3-4 months late, so I just finished reading your story. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the story, especially when the students were out for the procession.
Many of us will never know your grief, but please know we will never forgot your sacrifice."
Joe Ragan of Kyiv, Ukraine

"To the family of CSM Blankenbecker,
I was one of your loved ones soldiers with 1-44. I rember as soon as he showed up in country he was instantly going all over the country to meet his soldiers and he would sit and talk to veery one of us for a few minutes and learned our names and where we were from etc. He very much impressed me as a leader and I realized how much of a great guy he was. I am very proud to have met him and served with him and I know he was very proud of you all he instantly pulled out pictures of his kids and family when He was looking at my wall locker with pictures of my family. My deepest sympathies for the loss of this great hero. he will always be in my thoughts... Hooah"
Patrick A Welsh of Ft Sam Houston TX

"Blankenbecler Family,
I just read the letter that Jessica wrote to her father. I can't believe that I never heard anything about this. I think that I was just to young to think that my dad would never leave. Well not to shortly after that (in 2004) my family and I recieved word that my dad (in the National Gaurd) was to be deployed to Kuwait in January of 2005. I don't really know how it feels to ever lose a family member and especially one that close to my heart. I want you to know that after reading that article I will surely include you in my prayers tonight. I'm so sorry for your loss and Jessica your letter was beautiful. Though I cried I have never read anything so wonderful. Take Care."
Melaina Ruth of Lewiston, Michigan

"To the family of CSM Blankenbecler,
For the short 6 mnths that I had the honor of serving in the Army I am happy to say that I had wonderful officers to serve under. Your husband and father sounds like he was and always will be a true leader. I hope to get my chance again to serve under someone as great as him."
Jessica ---- alasthrnbelle7@yahoo.com of Boston, MA

"Linnie, Amanda, Joseph, and Jess,
I still think about my friend every day. I know that I will think about him every day for the rest of my life because that is the kind of impact he had on my life both professionally and personally. I miss him very much and wish he were still here with us. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and I will say a prayer for my CSM and for you guys as well. Hope all is well. Linnie, please send me an email mark.gunther@us.army.mil"
CPT Mark Gunther of El Paso, TX

"Dear Linnie and Family, I was "Blank's" Platoon Leader in the 82d Airborne Division during Desert Storm. He was a fine NCO and a Great Man. Each of the men who were my NCO's were outstanding in every way. You husband and Father had the toughest competition America could find and still succeeded. I was deeply hurt and brought to my knees when I saw his name in Stars and Stripes in Balad, Iraq. I was in Country when he was taken by our Lord. Every year on Memorial Day, I ask everyone I know to pray for and thank the families of "Blank" and SSG Eddie Garcia who was with us and we lost shortly after coming home from Desert Storm. Blank was the one who replaced Eddie two days before we went into Iraq. I spoke to several Soldiers from 44th ADA in Tirkrit, and although Blank had just arrived, they knew him instantly as a leader. I will find a way to send you pictures from those days. Send me your email at ward3482@yahoo.com. "All the Way!""
MAJ Owen Ward of Tampa, Florida

On my frequent visits to chat with my Dad, I look over his headstone and a little to the left and see the headstone of your parents and think about you. Mom and I reminisce about happier days when we [you and I] were children. I often wonder if you will ever feel that innocent abandon again.

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope each day brings you closer to that place where the happy memories you shared with Jim will engulf that space inside where sadness now resides."
Kathleen (Kathy) Doyle of El Paso, TX

"I knew James at Groveton High School in Alexandria. I must confess that I did not like him then. I could list the reasons but it no longer is of any importance.
When I had heard that he was killed in Iraq fighting for his country and read the many eulogies from those that served with CSM Blankenbecler I realized that James Blankenbecler had become a real man and a true hero.
I have since become ashamed of my past feelings and now regret that I did not have the oppurtunity to shake his hand and maybe buy him a beer.
I was in the army myself and served in the first Gulf War and I think I can tell a real hero from a fake. CSM Blankenbecler is a true hero.
While I am sad for his family that he is no longer with them I am neverthless, delighted that he proved me wrong on my past feelings.
As a former soldier I can also state as long as there is a United States Army Sergeant Major Blankenbecler will live on.
A Salute to a good soldier and a good MAN."
PHILIP of Centreville, VA

"To the Family of Blankenbecler,
I served with then SFC and 1SG Blankenbecler in 1-62 ADA. I was attached to SFC Blankenbecler's platoon several times for deployments. He was a stern but very fair man. I learned alot from him in the years that I spent in 1-62 ADA. I also had the privilege of 1SG Blankenbecler being on my Staff Sergeant board and him telling me that if I wanted to get promoted that I had to yell as loud as I could "I want to be a Staff Sergeant". I did and made SSG. I also had the pleasure of having CSM Blankenbecler be my Commandant
at BNCOC. CSM Blankenbecler was a true friend to the soldiers and never waivered in his fight to make all of us the very best we could be. I will always miss his sterness but also his caring attitude for the soldiers in the field. He was definately a soldiers CSM. One of the greatest leaders I have known. I know CSM Blankenbecler is in heaven right now looking down and is pleased with his family and friends and soldiers. Take care, God Bless."
Travis W. Taylor of Rockford, IL

"to the familiy of CSM. James D. Blackenbechler i would like to send my deepest condolences from my family to yours,I had a priviledge of being a soldier at 1-62 ADA hhb WHEN THEN WE CALLED HIM "FIRST SARGEANT" he was a great man! He was stern and and unruly at times but he was a great leader , i remeber times when he used to get on me for not staying in shape and i used to gripe and complain but through it all i overcame adversities in so many ways. CSM I KNOW YOUR UP THERE WATCHING ME TYPE THIS LETTER TO U, AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME IN THE PAST ,YOU MADE A MAN OUT OF ME. NOT JUST FROM BEING IN THE ARMY BUT ALSO BY BEING IN YOUR PRESENCE. THANK YOU SO MUCH CSM. LOVE SPC. EUGENE A. BENJAMIN JR. 1-62 ADA HHB"

"CSM, We only meet one time. That was the day you came down to taji to introduce yourself to the bravo family. You wanted to meet everyone and shake our hands, you wouldn't leave until you met us all. Even though it made the trip back to tikrit more dangerous. You were so genuine and sincere. I will never forget you and I still have your coin you designed, its my favorite one. Thank you"
SGT Wyniawskyj of Ft. Hood, Texas

"The year 2006. 27 months without my husband and still the tears fall.
Thank you all for sharing your heart with me."
Linnie Blankenbecler, of Killeen Texas

"To CSM Blankenbecler, and Family,
I was a soldier in HHB 1-44 ADA under CSM Blankenbecler, and like the rest of our unit, I didn't get to know him well enough. I did have several encounters with him, and found him to immediately instill a feeling of pride in what I was doing, and pride in our unit. He addressed us, the soldiers of 1-44 ADA in a manner that made me feel as though we were family, now I spent 4 years with the unit, and I did feel that sometimes, but never so profoundly, as when the first time I encountered CSM Blankenbecler, he asked me about my family, and where I am from, and if I had sent Christmas letters home, and ordered me to call my grandma as soon as I got a chance. This showed me that he held family and us as his 500+ family members dear to him, and I am honored to have spent the time I did with him. I will remember the words "One Team...One Fight" forever, for they are part of all of us now...God Bless..."
Mike Brown, Formerly SPC Brown of Newport, Ky, formerly Ft Hood, TX

"I was leveled the day I heard about "Blank", the whole Shorad ADA community was shook to its core. He was a great man whom I had the pleasure of having as my First Sergeant at B Btry 1-62 ADA (25th ID) then as my chief on his last cycle at BNCOC. He was a kind man who honored our fallen in Hawaii (Sgt Igo and Trey Turner), always fair and honorable. Though by no means soft (Im still sore from his CasEvac PT and the words of "Ill crush your..." well those that served with him know how the rest goes. He was great man whose memory I shall always carry and I am honored to have known him."
Sgt (P) Griffin of Phoenix, AZ


I can never understand your sorrow or pain. I assure you that I ache from this loss - Jim was the best soldier I have ever known, the best sounding board anyone could ever have...............a friend and someone I have always considered - MY FAMILY. I pray that his memory brings the warmth and strength that he as a person brought to everyone he touched.

I invite anyone who reads this to visit the Fort Bliss NCO Academy and see the CSM James D. Blankenbecler Classroom. It is a small tribute to a fallen hero with such an honorable career.

Jim is a hero and an inspiration to me, the cadre of this Academy and to so many that knew and served with him. I go into that classroom atleast twice a week and am inspired by the gleam in his eye in the many photos of him, his career and his family.

Linnie and Kids - know that you are always in my thoughts and in the heart, prayers and thoughts of so many other soldiers. You will never be forgotten..........Jim will never be forgotten. As 1 October passes again I reflect back on my friend......my family.

Rest in Peace my Friend. I miss you!

CSM Mike Allen of Fort Bliss, Texas


I was in the Operations Center when the radio transmission came in. It was the worst day of my military career.
I will never forget the memorial we had for Jim over there in Tikrit. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I read the roll call, and I had to call Jim's name...three times, and he didn't answer. I will never forget it.
Jim and I were good friends and I will never forget the time we spent together in 1-44 ADA.
God bless you and your family. Jim will never be forgotten."
CSM Scott K. Oakley of 5-5 ADA, Camp Sears, Korea

"James was remembered last night at a Peace demonstration in Bozeman, Montana."
Rev. Christie of Bozeman, MT

"Jessica, I am a navy wife and today my mom sent me Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul. I read your letter in the book and you made your father so real to me I had to go online and find his picture. I know he is proud of the incredible person you are. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family."
Tessa of NAS Sigonella, Sicily

"Dear Blankenbecler family,

I just read the People magazine story about your family and Jessica's letter.

There are no real words that I can share with you except, I'm so sorry, and thank-you. Not only did your father and husband pay the ultimate price, but you all have to now pay it too.

I have an 8 year old daughter, and my biggest fear is something happening to me, and leaving her. We too are Christian, and have candidly talked about something happening, and that we will be together again with Jesus and the Father. From the bottom of my heart I believe that, and that you will be with your father and husband again too.

You will be in our prayers, all our love through Jesus Christ.

Caroline Chmiel
Mark Chmiel
Renee Chmiel

ps. I'm going to send a note to our reps in Congress and the President about the benefits also! And Jessica, thank-you. I will try and live every day loving and appreciating my relationship with my daughter even more, because of your letter and thoughts. And humbly, speaking for your father, as a father, don't ever forget for even one second how much he adores and loves you."
Mark Chmiel of Chappaqua, NY

"On the rough days, I like to google my dad's name. I cant tell you how honored I feel that he was loved and cared for by so many people. I keep waiting for things to get easier, but everytime I take 2 steps forward, it seems like I take 3 more back. But seeing webpages like this really help me get through it. It's the little things that mean so much. Thank you all for remembering. I've been truly impressed by the hearts of human kind."
Joseph of North Hollywood, CA

"To the family of Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Blankenbecler: Please accept my deepest condolences and my greatest respect, you are, and will always be, the true strength of our nation. My Prayers are with you...
Semper Fidelis Sgt. Maj.
S.E. Richmond
Lt Col USMCR (ret)"
Steve Richmond of Alameda, CA

"To Jessica - WOW!
I didn't know your dad, I served w/ him in the 4th there. I remember the news when it happened, but just now saw his face on this memorial. Your letter to him was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. My oldest daughter is two years younger than you. I have no doubt you will see your father in heaven, and God willing, Id like to meet him there too. God's Speed and God Bless to you and your family. You are in our prayers"
CW3 Walker BMT 7/10 CAV, 4ID of FT Hood, Tx

"Oh Jessica.. This is Jessi Wiggins.. we were best friends when you lived in Hawaii... we both lived on Hoio Circle together and we'd play a lot even though you were a year older than me. I'm sorry about your dad. My dad was almost deployed to Iraq from Ft. Hood too.. my sister was deployed in January 2004 and she just got back this month. I was scared she'd die. My mom told me that you're dad had died and I was totally shocked and I felt so bad. I read that letter you wrote to your dad and I cried. I mourn for you and I hope that you'll be okay."
Jessi Wiggins of San Angelo, Texas

"Hey linnie and jess,
its courtney i love you all so much and even though he cant be with us now hes in all of us. I feel and think about you guys almost everyday. i love you all and i'm so sorry
courtney adcox"
courtney of Sugarland,tx/ US

"Jessie and Linnie,
I think about you all the time and would love to speak with you. Please contact me. jbeard05@gsb.columbia.edu"
Joe Beard of New York City

"I met you and Linnie while standing in line at a Wells fargo Bank in Fort Bliss Texas. Linnie, I hope you can recall the incident. I asked you both if you were newlyweds because you both shined in the presence of one another. He had brought you roses that day and told me you were his life, and was everything to him. He was a Sergeant Major in uniform and not ashamed to be bringing his wife roses. Linnie, you were so loved by him, even a stranger could see it. I hope you know that he is with you always. I will never forget meeting the both of you and still hope today i find the love as you two had. You were a beautiful couple. Forever etched in my mind. I'm so sorry for your loss. I still go to the Fort Bliss Wells Fargo bank and ask about you often. You still hold the title of my favorite teller."
Tony of El Paso Texas

"I went to school with Jim. He was the Quarterback for our high school football team. He was also in some of my classes (when I went to them (grins) I was taking photography classes and my interest was sports so I was out there on the sidelines at a lot of the football games. I just found my yearbook and Jim signed it "the dude who is always stalking me with his camera but you take great shots of me in football so that's ok" that's what he wrote in my yearbook. I also found some pictures of him in action on the football field in an old photo scrap book that I still have. I remember Jim's smile and how he kinda towered over everyone as he was taller then alot of guys. Jim is not the first friend that I knew who has died over there. our troops are dying at an alarming rate everyday all this Bush/Cheney & Halliburton company can get richer from the oil. Our soldiers need to come home now shame on you Bush! Mission NOT accomplished! you are killing our men and woman so you can get richer off the oil! to Jim's wife and children my condolences to you all."
Lawrence Fasick of Las Vegas, Nevada

"The family of Command Sgt. Maj. James Blankenbecler, i would like to give my condolences, for their loss. I was looking up news for Shoemaker when i found this page, and read your letter to your father. i cant begin to imagain what your going through, and can only offer my prayers, I my self a graduate of Shoemaker(2003), with to younger sister, still thier, greave for all those who have lost a love one, Our school has been hit hard by OIF, and OEF. But I like you to remember it not for a unjust cuase, it for the love of freedom that we all charish. I need not have had to meet your father to know that he was an outstanding solider, I am sorry for you loss again and offer my prayers

Lcpl Nieto
Lcpl Nieto of MCAS, Iwakuni, Japan

My (step) sisters and I (Jen) were curious about the history of all the fallen soldiers in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Caitlyn knew you from Shoemaker and told us about your father. To our surprise we saw his webpage and read your heartbreaking letter. Our greatest sympathies go out to you and your family. We appreciate you father serving our country with full honor. I'm sure you know that Caitlyn and her little sister Amber's father goes to Iraq quite frequently. They and I will never know your pain and what you have gone through. You dont even know me, but im a great listener and can give some really good advice. May god bless you and your family, and just remember, keep your head high and always smile! Your daddy is watching over you everyday! You are more than welcome to email me if you ever need to talk. jlfemy@hotmail.com

many blessings,"
Jen Fimreite, Caitlyn and Amber Hermance of Col.Spgs.CO & Killeen, TX


"Linnie and Jessie,
Just wanted you to know that I was remembering and honoring Jim tonight. He will never be forgotten in this small family. I miss you and hope you are well. Jeanne"
Jeanne of Colorado Springs

"To the Family of CSM Blankenbecler,
You are in my prayers. I remember JD from Ft Bragg and will always remember him fondly."
Fellow Paratrooper of Louisville, KY

"Sergeant Blankenbecler, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To the family of CSM Blankenbecler, I can't truly express the amount of sympathy I feel for all of you. I am currently with HHB 1-44th ADA and got back to the U.S. March 19th...ten days shy of a complete year in the Middle East. I had just met him a few days before he was killed, and I wish I had had a better chance of getting to know him. I would like to meet you all some day and learn more about him, honor him properly(my mission prevented me from any kind of memorial service), and offer my condolences face to face with the family he left behind. Again, I am so sorry for your loss."
SPC Bryan Sansone of HHB 1-44th ADA

"Jessica I dont really know you, but our moms work together. I know that you will always miss your daddy and that We as Shoemaker, Fort Hood, and the United States of Amarica will miss him. Today in my newspaper class we were watching a video that Celest Tia had put together, it showed all of the pictures of the family members that had been deployed and then it showed a picture of your dad, and a clip of the ceremony that was held for your daddy, and all i could do was cry. Your mom and dad, seem to me alot like mine, how they were not only husband and wife but they were best friends. I can see myself in your shoes and I am so proud of how strong you and Mrs. Linnie are. I am so glad that Fort Hood and Shoemaker High School have come together. I can honestly tell you that i have never seen people come together like that for one person, that just shows how us military brats gotta stick together. We really are like one big family. I could not see a Soldier like your father going out in a better way, he went in the way that every Soldier hopes to go in. He died fighting for our Country, Our Freedom, and Everything that goes along with it! Our Soldiers are Our HEROS and I think that being military brats we tend to see that alot easier that other people. I thank your Father for Fighting for my freedome and for the better cause of man kind. Jessica i can tell you that my dad is sick because he was over in the Gulf War, now when someone who is in pain everyday because of going over there would still go over there to fix things because he knew that how the people were treated over there was wrong that just goes to show how dedicated our boys are. jessica if you need anything just find me at school! God Bless you both and I am truely sorry for your loss!"
Caitlin Kibby of Shoemaker High School, Killeen, Tx

"Thank you all very much for writing to this website. I love to read them over and over again. When I'm feeling sad and all alone, this helps me know that I am not dealing with this by myself. As I write this, tears continue to fall. Jim was and still is my heart..............."
Linnie Blankenbecler of Harker Heights Texas

"Jim Blankenbecler is one of the greatest men I have ever come in contact with. He was my platoon sergeant while I was a platoon leader in Hawaii. Words can't express the tremendous sadness that his untimely passing brings. I can't help but think about him every day...Linnie I carry his coin in my pocket with me at all times. Jim was always there during my toughest times in the Army. I'll never forget you Jim...never. You never had a chance to meet my little one, Jordyn, but she will know what a great man you were as she comes of age. Linnie if you or the kids ever need anything.....please contact me."
Joe Beard of NY, NY

"Thank you for your sacrafice. Please know it was not in vain. Some will never know of it. Many will never understand it. Please know that my breathren and I know of it and understand it.
No words I can say will help your family in this time of grief. I will leave them with the thanks of a grateful nation.
God Bless you, your family, and the USA"
William Lewis of Dallas, Tx

"To the Family of Command Sergeant Major James D. Blankenbecler, I met Jim 18 years ago when we were E-4s on our way to PLDC together. We became close friends and served two tours together in Germany. It was an honor to serve with Jim, as well as, know Jim on a personnal level. It was not as fun getting beat up on the golf course by Jim. I have ordered a KIA/MIA braclet with Jim's name on it, that I will wear and show honor to him from now on. If anyone is interested in a bracelet, here is the link. http://www.pownetwork.org/hoi.htm May God bless you and your family Linnie."
MSG Mark D. Hall of Indianapolis, IN

"I had the honor of knowing CSM Blankenbecler in Bravo Battery 1-62 ADA. He was my Platoon SGT and 1SG while I was stationed there. I cant count how many times how he and his wife Linnie helped me out. I remember one time in December of 97 my wife at the time had come out to Hawaii and visited me. My plans fell through and CSM Blankenbecler and Linnie offered their home to her while she was here to visit. I remember how many times I had personal problems and he would talk to me and give me advice. But I wasnt the only one he would help. He gave everyone that would ask his help. I remember the first thing he said to us when we were in formation the first time i ever met him. If I catch anyone looking at my daughter they are in for a very bad day. The CSM Blankenbecler was a very funny and caring man.
I sit here in Iraq thinking about how such a good man could be taken away so early. I would always joke with him and ask him how fast he was gonna make CSM. At the time I knew him he wasnt on the list yet for MSG. He would tell me that his number wasnt even called yet for MSG and i was already putting in his head thoughts about getting promoted to the next rank. He was an outstanding person. Words cannot express how much of a loss this is to everyone who knew him. A loving caring man, a devoted father, and probably the best leader our Army will ever see or know. He will truley be missed. To his family words cant express how sorry I am. Thank you for supporting him and making him the man he was for me. Behind every good man there is a great family that gives him support he needs. Thank you for helping him be that man. Much Love, Much Respect, Always Remember the lost.
Sgt Robert J. Irvine
Bravo 1-62 ADA 3rd Platoon Hellraisers
Robert Irvine of Fort Riley, Kansas

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, James, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"As a military wife, whom has lived on Ft. Bliss, I understand the way I would feel if my loved one was in Iraq. I have many friends over there and keep a close eye out for info on them. But, I have never been so touched as I was when I read Jessica's letter to her Dad. Just remember your Dad is still with you He will always be in your heart and mind. He will always be looking over you. May God Bless you and your family. Your Dad is a true American Hero and will never be forgotten. You and your family will always be in my prayers."

"Dear Family of CSM Blankenbecler. I just read Jessica's letter to her father..it touched my heart. I lost my father when I was 19 and often wrote similar letters. It helped me grieve. You are a courageous young woman Jessica, to share your personal letter with all of us. I am an Army wife and sooo proud of my husband and the career he chose. I wish all the best for your family and I thank you for your service as a military family. So often families are not remembered as "serving" too. As the 800 people who showed up at the funeral demonstrated; the Army family takes care of their own. God Bless and thank you for sharing your story with this website."
Michelle mann of Ft. Richardson, Alaska

"Thank you James Blankenbecler, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family of CSM James D. Blankenbecler. I served with then SGT. Blankenbecler during my assignment to Wackerheim, Germany in the mid-eighties. Over the years, he always stayed in my thoughts with all the many great qualities he possessed. My heart and prayers go out to you as I grieve the loss along with you."
SSG(P) Robert C. Meeks of US Army

"Mr.Blankenbecler,thank you for everything you have given me and i know you are in a safe and good place now watchin on ms linnie and jessie and mandy and josheph. know always that i love you and i'm proud to say that i knew you and was very close to you and your family. your soul will live on forever. you are in my heart always. one day we will all be reunited with you. I will remember you! love always and forever more *Tina Nelson*"
Tina Nelson of El Paso, Texas

"I had never heard of CSM Blankenbecler until I received an email from a friend. This email had a copy of Jessica's letter to her Dad. After reading the letter, as with all of our fallen soldiers I hear about, I try to learn a little about them. I don't want anyone to be just a statistic, especially when they gave so much. Thank you Command Sergeant Major Blankenbecler for your service to our country and thank you Jessica for honoring your father."
Tim Morton of Oviedo, Fl

"Jim, i will always remember your strength of character, concern for soldiers, and your fierce devotion to your family. You finally arrived at the pinnacle of your career when you answered your country's call to duty, as you have done your whole adult life; never wavering, always ready, a leader of soldiers. I will miss your unflappable leadership in times of crisis, whether personal or professional. I will miss golfing with you, and seeing Linnie in the distance coming to deliver us some much needed refreshment. You touched the lives of all who know you, and though you are gone from us in the physical sense, you will always be remembered in our hearts and memories. I have so much I wanted to say to your family when I learned of your death, but I was literally shocked into silence by your untimely death. I hope you know what a significant loss this is for so many, that you find comfort in the knowing, and that you are at peace. I wish you green fairways, and fair greens Jim, may God have mercy on your soul."
1SG Louis R. Asher of Schofield Barracks, HI

"Always remember that you will all be reunited when the time is right .. Me ke aloha pau ole .. a hui hou."
Coleen of Oahu, Hawaii

"My thoughts & prayers go out to all the Military men and women who are at war and especially those who have lost their lives. May God bless you forever. Thank you for everything, you are my hero! Rest in peace."
Amanda K Casas of San Diego, Tx

"I photographed and knew James at Groveton High School and while most of the other athletes had big heads, James was always kind to me, he hung out with me at times, and always took an interest in my photos. I thought he was really cool for hanging out with a nerd (so I was called). I am deeply saddened by this loss, my sympathies go out to his family. shidoobay@yahoo.com"
little ernie of nyc

"My beautiful husband, i miss you so much. On your wedding ring was the words inscribed "Always with Honor" I loved being married to you and will honor your memory for as long as I live."
Linnie Blankenbecler of Ft Hood Texas

"My deepest condolences go out to Command Sgt Maj Blankenbecler's family and friends. It was a great honor to know and learn from him. His dedication to duty, consideration for soldiers, and many sacrifices will never be forgotten. He will be dearly missed. May God bless you."
CPT Michael K. Byard of 1st Infantry Division, Germany

"To the family and friends of Command Sgt. Maj. James Blankenbecler:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless James for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Command Sgt. Maj. James Blankenbecler:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of James, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on