Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pvt. Joseph Blake - God Speed

The flags are at half-staff in Oregon. We have lost one of our young men, Pvt Joseph Blake. He was a short-time resident of Oregon before he joined the Army. His was the ultimate sacrifice for our country. He gave his life to keep us all safe and free.

God Speed, Pvt Joseph Blake.

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Joseph Robert Blake had lived in Portland only a few weeks when, in January 2005, he made a commitment he'd toyed with much of his life. He joined the U.S. Army.

At 34, according to his adoptive father, Douglas Blake of Livonia, Mich., Pvt. Joseph Blake was the oldest guy in his basic training class. Many of his classmates, still teenagers, used to kid around and call him the "old man."

The Department of Defense announced Joseph Blake's death Monday. He died August 17 in Turkalay, Afghanistan, of injuries when his platoon encountered small arms fire, the military said.

"They were ambushed," his father said during a telephone interview.

Born and raised in the Detroit area, Blake spent most of his life there. In 2003, his father said, he moved to Florida to live with his birth family and to find a job. He had trouble finding work in Michigan, and found the same economic problems in Florida.

"He and a buddy went to Portland looking for work," Douglas Blake said.

Looking over some of their son's grade school papers, Douglas and Joann Blake discovered the military was on the top of his list of potential careers for several years.

"He said he had thought about it for many years, and if he didn't do it now, he wouldn't be able to because of his age," his father said.

Although he was older than his comrades, Joseph Blake was proud he could keep up with them. He worked hard to stay in shape, his father said.

Blake was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. In March, the unit was shipped to Afghanistan -- his first deployment, his father said.

"He was very proud of what he had achieved in the military," Douglas Blake said. "He was proud of his uniform. He felt very good about what he was doing."

On a mid-July home leave, Blake told his parents some things about his duties overseas but was guarded about the dangerous details.

"He didn't want us to worry about what might happen," his father said.

"We're very proud of him," he said. "We're very proud of what he achieved, and we're very proud of his willingness to fight."

MARK LARABEE, Researcher Lynne Palombo contributed to the story. The Oregonian Newspaper.

3 comments:

Tony Ramos said...

My name is Tony Ramos, Joe Joe used to work for me in Florida. When he told me that he wasn't happy here in Florida because he couldn't find a girl friend. That he was thinking about joining the US Army because it was something he had always wanted to do and knew that if he did join he'd come out with excellent training and would be able to get money for College. I told him that he was one if not the best employee, I had ever had but if he truly wasn't happy and really wanted to leave I would give him my blessing. He was also told that if he ever needed a job in Florida he always had one working for me and that he always had a place to visit or call home in Fla. After he left, Joe Joe kept in touch with me and a few of my employees whom he had become close friends with, in early 2005 he called me and told me he had enlisted in the Army and was in Basic training. I was so upset with him because we were in a time of war. I told him how upset I was and how worried I was for his safety, but Joey being the funny caring guy he always was said to me, "Tony, you know me I'm fast and I'm smart, you think I'm going to let anything happen to me? I don't think so." he said. Even through my tears I giggled with him and told him to just promise me he'd be careful, and he did. Several weeks later he was on leave after Basic and was visiting with family and he told me that he was going into training and then possibly Afgan. after that, again I got upset and begged him to be careful, and yet again Joey made a joke and made me forget about where he was going and made me concentrate on our conversation. He reminded me that first he had to pass his training. Also that I should remember that he wasn't a young boy anymore. He never wanted to make anyone worry, he was one of the few people I had ever called a true friend. Here it is Dec 15th, 2007 and for over a year I have tried calling his Cell Phone and emailing him and I knew that something was wrong. Joe Joe would always call me or email me to say he was ok. After all this time past, I never wanted to do a search on the DOD sites to find out the truth. But today I got a call from one of my former employees to tell me that another of my former employees who kept in touch with Joey like I had, found out by doing that very search I didn't dare do that our Joe Joe, was Killed in Action. I have had many people work for me over my 40 years, never one like Joey, he was someone I was able to talk to and someone I will truly miss. As I write this I have not been able to stop crying, just having found out I lost one of the few people I called a friend. So Joey or better yet, Pvt. Joseph Blake, thank you for paying the ultimate price for my Freedom, Since the day I met you, you have always been in my prayers, and will continue to be till we meet again. God Bless you Joey I miss you so much and am so mad at our government for letting so many of our Men and Women get killed in another country for their freedom and not for the USA's freedom. You were always a Brave man Joey and no matter how mad I get at anyone for your death, I am so Proud of you kiddo. I love you.

Rev. Tony Ramos
Ft. Lauderdale Florida
954-971-1211
fathertony@tonyramos.org

Flag Gazer said...

Tony - thank you for your remembrance.

Father Tony said...

It was my Pleasure Terri, Joe meant a great deal to me and to many here in the Ft. Lauderdale area, where he worked for me. I only wish I would have maybe tried harder to try and keep him from leaving. Till this day I still miss him so much, I still can't get myself to erase his old mobile phone number from my Cell Phone. He will forever be in my Heart and in my prayers.

As will each and every Man and Women who has given the most anyone can ever give, and who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms and for the freedom of others all around the Globe. May God Bless them all, and give their family and friends what they need to move on in life.

But most of all Terri, may God Bless you for putting this site together and for maintaining it, and for giving me and countless others, a place to spill out hearts.

Thank you and God Bless you,
A friend for life,
Father Tony Ramos