On November 21, 2015, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 honored local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.
A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, included students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.
Below visitors will find photos shared by the family, a brief biography and a student tribute by Aidan Paradis remembering the life and service of John Charles Blake.
March 24, 1945 – March 21, 1970
John Blake was born on in Brattleboro son of Stetson and Irene Blake and was raised with his brothers Stetson (Bob) and Andrew (Andy) and his sisters Patricia (Partlow) Manch and Mary Lou (Jarvis) Potvin.
John attended St. Michael Grammar and High School and graduated in the class of 1963. He was a class leader and basketball star.
John enlisted in the Navy and became a corpsman. He was deployed to Vietnam in the fall of 1969 and served with the 2nd Batalion of the Fifth Marines in Quang Nam Province, southwest of Da Nang.
John’s Aunt Ronnie served with the State Department. She was stationed in Saigon during the war. John was able to fly to Saigon and spend Christmas 1969 with his aunt.
John participated in many small unit actions against the enemy. John died on March 21, 1970 from a wound sustained from incoming rounds which wounded 26 other marines, and critically wounded John. John was medevac form An Hou to Da Nang. At the time of his passing John was comforted by the presence of his brother, Andy, also a Marine, who was also stationed in I Corps, and LCDR William J. Hultberg, a Catholic priest and very close friend of John’s. On April 13, 1970, Fr. Bill wrote John’s mother about John’s desire to pursue a career in medicine after the war and about Fr. Bill’s friendship with and admiration for John. He wrote “in closing…knowing both of your sons certainly tells me a lot about you. You must be a magnificent person. Please take pride in your son as he too was magnificent.”