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James D. Blankenbecler
File:File:CSM James D. Blankenbecler.jpg
Born June 27, 1963
Died October 1, 2003
Place of birth Arlington County, Virginia
Place of death Samarra, Iraq
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Command Sergeant Major

James D. Blankenbecler (June 27, 1963 – October 1, 2003) was an American command sergeant major and the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to be killed by hostile fire in the Iraq War.[1]

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Blankenbecler was born on June 27, 1963, in Arlington County, Virginia.[2] Blankenbecler grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Groveton High School (now West Potomac High School).[3]

Military career[edit | edit source]

Blankenbecler joined the United States Army in 1983 and served during the Gulf War and at Fort Belvoir.[3]

In 2003, Blankenbecler was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas and deployed to Iraq.[1][4]

Death and legacy[edit | edit source]

Blankenbecler died on October 1, 2003, in Samarra, Iraq, due to injuries sustained after being in convoy that was "hit by an improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenades".[1][3][5]

In 2005, a bill was passed by the Virginia General Assembly to honor Blankenbecler.[6]

In 2014, the CSM James D. Blankenbecler Resilience Center was opened and dedicated in Blankenbecler's name.[1]

In 2018, West Potomac High School held a Veteran’s Day of Service to honor Blankenbecler.[7]

References[edit | edit source]

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