The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 1LT James Oris Blankenship, who died in the service of his country on January 8th, 1968 in Quang Tin Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Rocket/Mortar. At the time of his death James was 24 years of age. He was from Independence, Missouri. James is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 34E, Line 4.
The decorations earned by 1LT James Oris Blankenship include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
My husband, James Oris Blankenship, was killed in VN on Jan 8, 1968. We met just before he graduated from OCS at Ft Benning (Class #10-66). We dated while he was assigned to jump school at Ft Benning. It was truly Gods design to have us fall in love and have what little time we had together. We were married at Ft Sill, Oklahoma where we were blessed with a son before he left for VN (Douglas James, now 42). Our sons twin daughter (Julia Mae), died 7 days after birth. In those 2 months of fatherhood before going to VN, I saw a man torn between the desire to be with his family and raise his son and his loyalty to his country. We mourn his loss each day. And feel sad for those who never had the chance to spend time with this wonderful and beautiful person.
Jill Blankenship Riedel -- Peoria AZ USA -- 05/30/2010
Lt. Blankenship is buried at Fort Sill, OK
From the book Through the Valley, Vietnam, 1967-1968 by James F Humphries, at p. 134:
"More troops were on the way to reinforce 4-31. During the early evening hours of 8 January the Americal Division had directed the 2-35th Infantry, 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division into the Hiep Duc Valley. The 2-35th Infantry would share FSB West with 4-31 and operate between Hill 445 and the Chang River. The battalions Company D would go first, with the remainder of 2-35 closing sometime on the 10th.
And from page 138:
"By 0430 (9 January) the movement had ceased, and the NVA pulled back down the hill. Mellon reported the company at 50 percent alert. Company D, 2-35th Infantry, in positions on the south side of the perimeter, had two (Jackson and Quitmeyer) killed and three wounded during the NVA attack."
And from page 162:
"At the end of February, the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division ceded its operational area to the 196th LIB and, minus the 2-35th Infantry that followed later, moved south to rejoin the 4th Infantry Division. ... When the dust settled 4-31 was on LZ Colt; 1-6 had secured LZ Baldy; 2-35 had FSB Ryder; 2-1 was at LZ Ross; 3-21 remained on FSB Center; and 1-1st Cavalry Squadron continued to operate in the eastern sector of the Que Son Valley and the costal lowlands."
(His BSM Citation)
The Bronze Star Medal is presented to First Lieutenant James O Blankenship for meritorious service in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. First Lieutenant Blankenship distinguished himself while serving as a Platoon Leader with Company D, 2/35th Infantry during the period September 1967 to January 1968. Upon taking command of his platoon, First Lieutenant Blankenship demonstrated fine leadership ability and honed his men in infantry tactics as a small unit as well as an integral part of the company. Under the strain and hardships of combat, he remained calm and accomplished all missions in a highly professional manner. Through his cheerful attitude and deep concern for his men, he earned the respect and admiration of his men, fellow officers, and superiors. On 9 January 1968, First Lieutenant Blankenship was participating in a combat assault in Quang Tin Province when fragments from a nearby exploding mortar round mortally wounded him. His aggressiveness, professional integrity, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.