2nd Lt. James P. Blecksmith, of San Marino, Calif., died Nov. 11, 2004 as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. The Marine died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom; he was 24. Blecksmith was an athlete and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He was survived by his parents, Edward and Pamela Blecksmith, his brother, and his sister.

“He had a code of ethics and morals with a presence about him… He was the old breed. Men respected him a lot, he was a great leader,” said Capt. Sven Jensen. “It’s better to die a piece of broken jade than live as a piece of clay.”

The Travis Manion Foundation honored 2nd Lt. Blecksmith through the Character Does Matter program when his story was shared with 110 cadets in the JROTC at Abraham Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, Pa to inspire them to do service within their own communities.

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