Two Schweinfurt battalions join for memorial services
Stars and Stripes June 12, 2007
Two battalions in Schweinfurt, Germany, came together to remember their fallen at the Ledward Barracks chapel Monday.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment remembered Staff Sgt. Virgil Chance Martinez, killed May 6 in Baghdad from explosives fire. Troops from 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment remembered Cpl. Clinton Coy Blodgett, 19, who was killed in Baghdad on May 26 by a roadside bomb.
Both battalions are part of 2nd “Dagger” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, which deployed to Iraq in August and September. The brigade is scheduled to return home in October.
One of Martinez’s best friends, Sgt. Alexander Morales, spoke at a memorial service in Baghdad on May 12. Sgt. Derrick Salas read Morales’ remarks Monday.
“I can recall a conversation we had at our favorite hangout. … He mentioned that the way that he and I were together reminded him of a best friend he had many years ago. I like to think that from that moment, at least for me, I considered him my best friend,” Morales said. “I know he felt the same.”
On his second Iraq deployment, Martinez, a squad leader, had been in charge of 10 men. He had led them on more than 150 patrols. After enlisting in 1992, he had previously served at Fort Sill, Okla., in the Utah National Guard, and in Bamberg, Germany, where he deployed to Kosovo.
“For those who didn’t know Staff Sergeant Martinez personally, the best way to sum it up is this: He was a loving husband and father first, a dedicated, caring, proficient and excellent leader, and a great friend,” Morales wrote of his friend.
Martinez is survived by his wife, Marion; daughters, Anesia and Isabella; son, Tonyo; stepdaughter, Amanda; stepson, Daniel; mother, Rebecca Oliver; and father Virgil.
Born in Wilson, Okla., and on his first deployment, Blodgett’s only unit was 1-18, to which he was assigned after training.
According to the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Blodgett wanted to enlist, but first needed his General Educational Development — the equivalent of a high-school diploma. He took the practice exam and passed.
“He was a very sincere young man, very motivated and intelligent,” said Carol Holsapple, a high school director of alternative programs. “He had a burning desire to be successful.
“He had traveled down enough roads that he had hit some hard places, but he knew how to deal with them,” she told the newspaper. “He told me, ‘Mrs. Holsapple, you have helped me to achieve my desire of going into the service.’”
Blodgett is survived by his mother, Tesa Hill; father and stepmother, Charles and Maria Blodgett; brothers, Charles Jr. and Jacob; and sister, Hannah.
Upcoming services at the Ledward Barracks chapel for other members of Dagger Brigade killed in action are:
For Sgt. Bacilio E. Cuellar, Spc. James E. Lundin and Pfc. Joshua M. Moore, all of 1-18 and killed May 30 in Baghdad: 10 a.m. June 20.
For Sgt. Shawn E. Dressler, 22, killed June 2, and Pfc. Joshua D. Brown, 26, killed Sunday: 1 p.m. June 21. Both were also members of 1-18.