Army Spc. Blair D. Thompson
Died June 25, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
19, of Rome, N.Y.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 25 at Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. Also killed in the attack was Spc. Jared C. Plunk.
(The following was taken from www.romesentinel.com of July 6, 2010) Those who knew Blair Thompson wept. So did many who had never met him.
Family, friends and strangers said goodbye to the 19-year-old infantryman from Rome on Sunday, July 4. A funeral Mass for the 2008 graduate of Rome Free Academy was celebrated in St. Peter’s Church, followed by military rites at Fort Stanwix National Monument.
The rituals were punctuated by remembrances of the young soldier who was killed on June 25 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked by insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades. Army Spc. Blair D. Thompson of the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team was the 11th serviceman with Oneida County ties to die in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last seven years.
More than 1,000 mourners filled nearly every pew in St. Peter’s, where some of Blair’s young life was revealed.
The Rev. Paul Carey, principal celebrant of the Mass, said that just before his deployment in May, Blair asked his paternal grandmother, Marian Thompson, to baptize him, which she did. The Town of Lee woman is a member of St. Joseph’s Church and its choir, where until this past week, Father Carey had been pastor.
In a letter, Blair’s stepmother, Jennifer, remembered how Blair helped assemble toys for his two younger brothers, Noah and Gavin. Her thoughts were of how he helped them take their first steps and helped the boys learn to swim. Those memories were read by Blair’s father, Vincent, now a resident of Little Falls.
Vincent Thompson told how his son loved being in the infantry, and how he had been wounded by shrapnel just two weeks before he was killed. Blair could have taken time off, perhaps even come home, but he refused, his father said, insisting on rejoining his unit on patrol. "Don’t worry, Dad, I’m doing my job, it’s what I was trained to do," Blair said in numerous phone calls and e-mails to his worried family.
The most emotional moment was at the conclusion of Vincent Thompson’s eulogy, when he raised his head and hands in prayer, declaring, "Almighty God you saw fit to bless me with a son. I return to you a real American hero." Hundreds stood in tearful applause.
"My son understood what he was doing and why he was doing it," Thompson said. "He understood the meaning of America and what the flag stands for...he believed that it was better to fight terrorists in Afghanistan than for us to have to fight them here."