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Vicente T. Blaz
Ben Blaz.jpg
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Antonio Borja Won Pat
Succeeded by Robert A. Underwood
Personal details
Born February 14, 1928(1928-02-14) (age 91)
Agana, Guam
Political party Republican
Residence Ordot
Alma mater Notre Dame
Military service
Nickname(s) "Ben"
Allegiance United States Guam United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1951–1980
Rank Brigadier General
Commands 9th Marine Regiment
Battles/wars Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Legion of Merit
Bronze Star

Brigadier General Vicente Tomás Blaz Garrido (born February 14, 1928), also known as Ben Blaz, is a retired United States Marine Corps Brigadier General from the United States territory of Guam. Blaz served in the Marine Corps from 1951 to until July 1, 1980. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.

Blaz was elected the delegate to Congress from Guam in 1984 as a Republican. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 until 1993.

As his mother's maiden name was Garrido, he is sometimes called Ben Garrido Blaz, in accordance with Spanish naming customs.

==Biography==Vicente Tómas Blaz Garrido was born on February 14, 1928 in Guam. He was living on the island during the three years of Japanese occupation during World War II. During the occupation he was forced to work in labor battalions building aviation fields and planting rice.

In 1947, he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

Marine Corps careerEdit

Brigadier General Vicente T. Blaz, USMC

Blaz as a Marine

At the beginning of the Korean War, Blaz joined the Marine Corps Reserve and attended Officer Candidate School. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps after graduation. He subsequently attended George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1963.

Service schools Blaz attended include the Navy’s School of Naval Justice for legal officers, Newport, Rhode Island; the Army’s Artillery and Guided Missile School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, Virginia; and, the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, where he was designated a Distinguished Graduate. His thesis, The Cross of Micronesia, was published in the Naval War College Review and entered verbatim in the Congressional Record in August 1971.

General Blaz served in a variety of command and staff billets throughout the Marine Corps, highlighted in 1972 by his assignment as Commanding Officer, 9th Marine Regiment, which was one of the major units involved in the liberation of his native Guam during World War II.

From September 1972 to August 1975, General Blaz served as Chief, United Nations and Maritime Matters Branch, International Negotiations Division, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. In this assignment, he represented the Joint Chiefs of Staff on U.S. Delegations to several international multi-lateral negotiations in Helsinki (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) and Geneva (Law of War) and was an action officer on Law of the Sea matters.

In December 1974, the University of Guam conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws on General Blaz.

Blaz retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Brigadier General in 1980. As of February 2014 Blaz is the highest ranked Chamorro to have served in the Marine Corps.[1] He was a professor at the University of Guam, and was then elected as a Republican to the House in 1984.

Delegate, U.S. CongressEdit

Blaz served as a Delegate from his native Guam to the U.S. House of Representatives for eight years from January 3, 1985 to January 3, 1993. Blaz was the second Chamorro to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.[2] He served on the Armed Services, the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees, and the Select Committee on Aging. During his first term, the 99th United States Congress, he introduced legislation — the Veterans' Educational Assistance Act — to expand eligibility under the G.I. Bill. Defeated for re-election by Democrat Robert A. Underwood, in 1992, he retired to Ordot, Guam.

Awards and honorsEdit

Blaz's military awards include:
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
V
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Gold star
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff seal
US Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
KSMRib.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Gold star
Vietnam gallantry cross-3d.svg
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg United Nations Service Medal Korea.png Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon.png
Legion of Merit Bronze Star w/ valor device Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 award star Combat Action Ribbon Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Navy Presidential Unit Citation National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Korean Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 service stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ gold star Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation United Nations Korea Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal

In 1988, Blaz was honored by his alma mater, when the Notre Dame Alumni Association presented him with the Corby Award, which honors alumni who have distinguished themselves in military service.[3]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Antonio Borja Won Pat
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Guam's at-large congressional district|Guam

1985–1993
Succeeded by
Robert Anacletus Underwood

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