To the Editor:
Heroes are important. Their acts inspire us and teach us about selflessness. If they are from our community, they give us a sense of pride. Heroes are an integral part of the American fabric and are woven into every American holiday.
Regretfully, the passing of time fades their story and often relegates it to historical records left to collect dust on library shelves. I believe it is important for those who witness the hero’s act to keep their story alive.
This month marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. On Jan. 26, 1991, one of Waldoboro’s own, John Blodgett, performed an act of heroism that affected the lives of many. On that evening, the Marine Battalion that I led came under Iraqi missile attack. Realizing the battalion’s augmented civilian host nation truck drivers were in an unprotected area outside of the battalion perimeter, Staff Sergeant Blodgett, without regard for his own safety, ran 350 meters to direct them to a bunker.
His immediate selfless response and extreme presence of mind under fire was heroic.
Like most Marines, John probably does not think of himself as a hero. Perhaps his action was born from a feeling of invincibility that is inherent in most young Marines. Regardless of the reason, he acted with courage and selflessness. I believe he unconsciously knew he had to act, to do the right thing.
John did not know any of the rescued civilians’ names nor could he even speak their language-there was nothing in it for him to act. What he did know was that he was a well-trained Marine. He knew what his profession expected. He knew civilian lives were at risk and he acted.
When the war was over, the Secretary of the Navy said in John’s medal citation that “Staff Sergeant Blodgett’s exceptional professionalism, unfailing good judgement and extreme devotion to duty to his fellow Marines reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
He also authorized John to wear the coveted Combat Distinguishing Device on his medal.
John Blodgett is a hero. Take some time out of your day on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and thank him for his service, and for setting an example for all of us.