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Army Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff

Died December 8, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


23, of Corvallis, Ore.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed Dec. 8 when his vehicle flipped into a canal in Duluiyah, Iraq.

When Joseph M. Blickenstaff started struggling in high school, he turned to the Army to find discipline in his life. "He was missing a lot of school, and he needed somebody to put an arm around him," said his former teacher, Jim Phillips. "I think the military was the right choice for him. He was just one of those quiet boys who was looking for direction." Spc. Blickenstaff, 23, of Corvallis, Ore., died Dec. 8 when his Stryker combat vehicle tumbled off a dirt road in central Iraq and landed upside down in an irrigation canal. He was based at Fort Lewis, Wash. Teachers remembered Blickenstaff as quiet and well-liked, although he missed enough school days to land in a program for at-risk teens, Phillips said. Blickenstaff "was proud to protect our freedoms and died helping to create them for others he will never meet. He will always be our hero," his family said in a statement.

— Associated Press

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