Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 11, 2006
Taji (northwest of Baghdad), Iraq
High School: Bloomington High (Bloomington)
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside
At first, Joseph Blanco's family was surprised when he announced in 2003 that he was joining the Army. And then, the more they thought about it, the more it made sense.
He had always been interested in the military, from the time he owned a GI Joe as a child. He drew tanks, loved karate movies and for years prepared himself physically to be a soldier.
"This is what he wanted to do," said his older sister, Candy. "Not that he wanted to do it forever, but he wanted it to be part of his life."
Army Sgt. Joseph Blanco, 25, of Bloomington, Calif., was among three soldiers killed April 11 when a roadside bomb detonated near their Bradley fighting vehicle and they were then attacked with small-arms fire in Taji, Iraq, north of Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense. Blanco shipped out to Iraq later that year for his first deployment and returned seven months later. Then, late last year, he learned that he was being redeployed to Iraq and wouldn't be coming home this spring, as he had planned.
He managed to visit home in November...
"It was just before Thanksgiving, and we knew he wouldn't be here for Christmas, when we usually have tamales," his sister said. "So one weekend we had the tamales and then I made him turkey -- so we were able to give him Thanksgiving and Christmas."...
In addition to his father and sisters, he is survived by his mother, Cerefina; and a brother, Christopher.
Also killed with Army Corporal Joseph A. Blanco were
Spc. James F. Costello III, 27, of St. Louis
and Pfc. George R. Roehl Jr., 21, of Manchester, N.H.
All three soldiers were assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.
Spc. James F. Costello III -- Rest In Peace
George R. Roehl Jr. -- Rest In Peace