- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Marine Staff Sgt. Melvin L. Blazer
Died December 12, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
38, of Moore, Okla.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed Dec. 12 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.
Oklahoma Marine dies in Iraq
OKLAHOMA CITY — A Marine from Moore is one of three Marines who died of injuries suffered in Iraq, the military said Tuesday.
Staff Sgt. Melvin L. Blazer Jr., 38, died Sunday after coming under enemy fire in Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar province, family members and the Defense Department said.
Also killed were Lance Cpl. Hilario F. Lopez, 22, of Ingleside, Texas, and Lance Cpl. Gregory P. Rund, 21, of Littleton, Colo.
No more details were provided by the military about circumstances of the deaths.
Blazer was one of seven Marines to receive a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in November when an explosive hit their convoy.
“To know my husband was to love my husband,” Dana Blazer told The Oklahoman by telephone from her home near Camp Pendleton, Calif. “Everybody loved him and admired him and respected him and held him in such high regard. He was a hero in his everyday life.”
Blazer graduated from Moore High School in 1984, and decided he would make the military his career a few years later. He married his wife in 1989.
“We were such wonderful friends for many, many years,” Dana Blazer said. “That friendship blossomed into a wonderful love. The stuff fairy tales are made of.”
Blazer’s father, Melvin Blazer Sr., said he was awakened early Monday by a doorbell ring.
“They told me that he was killed in Fallujah with small-arms fire and that he was not alone when it happened,” Melvin Blazer Sr. said as he fought back tears.
“I loved him dearly,” the elder Blazer, a Vietnam veteran, said. “I was very proud of him.”
All three Marines were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine remembered for devotion to family, military
OKLAHOMA CITY — Of all the definitions used to describe Staff Sgt. Melvin L. Blazer on Tuesday, three things stood out.
“... He was a soldier. Thank God he loved and cared for his country. He loved and cared for his family,” said the Rev. Sam Davidson, who delivered Blazer’s eulogy.
“But foremost, and you ask what could be above a great soldier for this country and what could be above being a good husband and a good father to his children? The only thing above that would be a good Christian.”
Blazer, 38, was honored with a Purple Heart for injuries he received when his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in November. He died on Dec. 12 after being wounded again, this time by enemy fire in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Blazer, of Moore, served as a platoon leader with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Lance Cpl. Hilario F. Lopez, 22, of Ingleside, Texas, and Lance Cpl. Gregory P. Rund, 21, of Littleton, Colo., also were killed.
At least four Oklahomans have died in the past month in Iraq or Afghanistan. Twenty-three Oklahomans have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
About a dozen fellow Marines sat across from the family in front of Blazer’s flag-draped coffin. A photograph of Blazer in his uniform separated a row of red and white bouquets lining the length of the pulpit.
Though Blazer was baptized at Davidson’s church, he said he didn’t know him and depended on the memories of Blazer’s widow, Dana, and other relatives to prepare what he would say.
He read quotes of Dana Blazer describing her husband in a recent newspaper article.
“To know my husband was to love my husband. Everybody loved him and admired him and respected him and held him in such high regard,” Davidson read. “He was a hero in his everyday life.”
Master Gunnery Sgt. Melvin Waters, who served with Blazer, said Blazer always did a good job.
“He was a big, old country boy. He gave me a few gray hairs at times — when I had hair,” Waters joked.
“... He always had this theory that when you get to heaven, the streets will be guarded by the Marines.”
It didn’t take long after Blazer was graduated from Moore High School in 1984 for him to join the military and make it his career. He married his wife in 1989 and they had two children, Alyssa and Erik.
As a Marine, Blazer was proud to help the people of Iraq, but also told relatives he was glad to be in the country for another reason.
“His grandmother shared with me also from the letters that one of the things that he was excited about being in Iraq is he was where Abraham used to walk,” Davidson said. “He was where the Garden of Eden was, where Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden, right there in the cradle of humanity...”
After the eulogy, two Marines carefully folded the flag back and raised the lid as family, friends and members of the Marine Corp Honor Guard filed past.
The honor guard lifted his casket and walked slowly out of the sanctuary, followed by Dana Blazer, arm-in-arm with son Erik and daughter Alyssa behind.
Blazer was buried in Oklahoma City.
— Associated Press