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Gen. Blazey gives back to his adopted home

Frank Blazey graduated from West Point in 1946, missing service in World War II, the conflict that had vaulted his country into the premier leadership role in the world.

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So when the Army offered the young captain a role in the Korean War he said yes.
But he first had to break the news to his wife, Joy, who had just given birth to their first child, a daughter named Gay.
“The war started two days after the birth of this child,” he said. “And I told her, ‘I’m going to go to Korea. They’re looking for young captains to go to Korea and I didn’t get in World War II. I think I owe it to my country. They made me captain. I’m going to go.”
“What am I going to do?” Joy asked.
“Go home to mother,” Blazey said.
His assignment? Beat the North Koreans and the Chinese Army.
The young captain was awarded a Silver Star for his leadership as company commander in the 2d Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division.
In April 1951, Company E was occupying a defensive position on the Elgin Line near Tokchong when it was attacked by an enemy force of regimental strength.
Forced to tighten the perimeter in the face of the heavy pressure, Capt. Blazey “fearlessly moved through the intense enemy fire as he organized a defensive position around the command post,” according to an account in Military Times. “When the supply of ammunition became critically low, Captain Blazey, on three occasions, personally led a party through the heavy hostile fire to procure more. Throughout the entire action, his confident manner and vigorous exhortations were a source of inspiration to the members of his command. Captain Blazey’s superb gallantry and resourceful leadership reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.”
During a military career that spanned the Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam, Blazey rose to the rank of brigadier general, earning three Legion of Merit medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service from 1964 to 1970 in Vietnam.

Drafted to cheer for Navy
Even as a cadet at West Point, Blazey knew plenty about the war abroad.
“In 1943 the Navy came in with four ships and picked us all up at West Point,” he said. “I’d never been to New York to begin with. The first thing they did was tell us, ‘You’re in 1st Battalion, 1st regiment and that battalion is going to learn the Navy cheers. They’ve decided that they can’t bring their Middies up from Annapolis because of the war and they don’t have anybody to cheer for them so the 1st Battalion, 1st regiment is going to learn the Navy cheers.’”
“We produced ’em and started learning the Navy cheers.”
“Boy,” he remembered thinking. “This is a strange world up here. So we learned the Navy cheers and dammit if we (Navy) didn’t win.”
For his second Army-Navy game — in 1944 — the Cadets boarded a Navy ship and sailed to Baltimore for the game. Army’s team that year included the legendary Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis — “Mr. Inside” and “Mr. Outside.”
“We beat ’em,” he said. “We stole the Navy goat though, and that created a ruckus and they came back a couple years later and got into where the Army mule was located and stole the Army mule,” he said.

'A lot of good things happened'
The young cadet became a lieutenant and then a captain and rose through the ranks, serving on the front lines in combat, in an advisory role in the early years of the Vietnam War, serving back at West Point, where he earned an MBA, preparing for his next career chapter. After his retirement from the military in 1974, Blazey worked for Coca-Cola and a manufacturing company.
Blazey started out making $142 a month as a 2nd lieutenant based in Germany.
“Since that time a lot of good things have happened,” he said. “No. 1 was a great wife, married 65 years. We started investing three or four years after we were married.”
They were disciplined about saving.
When the Pardee Foundation called about the new Pardee Comprehensive Cancer Center campaign, Blazey shocked his visitors by saying, “I’ll make it easy for you.” He wanted to donate $25,000 in honor of his daughter, Gay Burgess Blazey, who died of colon cancer in 1990 at age 42. Pardee will name a chemotherapy treatment room in her honor.
Blazey and his wife also had two sons, both of whom served in the military.
Last week HonorAir announced that it would start flying Korean War veterans to Washington to see the Korean memorial and other monuments. Although the Korean War has been called “the forgotten war,” Hilliard Staton, a Marine Corps veteran of the war, noted that the troops who fought and the South Koreans who won liberty always remember. Blazey was a guest speaker.
“I look back on Korea as an accomplishment,” he said. “We spent over two years there, one in combat, in all of 1950, a very difficult time. I’m sorry to say it but I still don’t like the Chinese. They gave me a pretty tough battle but we won that one, too”a