18 January 2011

Recovering Marine updates supporters back home via Skype

Recovering Marine Sgt. Jon Blank and his mother Karen at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Photo: Michael McDermott, Augusta Gazette.

“Thanks to everybody,” said Marine Sgt. Blank via Skype to about 1000 supporters gathered at a High School gym back home, “I was lucky to be born where I was and live among such great people.” Sgt. Blank of Augusta, KS talked about the serious injuries he sustained while on recon duty with his unit Oct. 26, 2010 in Afghanistan and his ongoing recovery.

At the request of Skype interviewer Todd Hollis, Kansas Army National Guardsman and Augusta High teacher, Jon told his story about the day of his injuries.

The unit was keeping an eye on the Taliban in a southwest Afghanistan desert area.

This unit had set up in an abandoned compound. They spent a night there, but when the sun rose the next morning, the U.S. forces heard radio traffic about “Americans were moving in the area” and the Taliban was moving on those soldiers.

Being a well-trained Marine, Jon said he and fellow soldiers felt they were “up to the challenge.”

He walked into an area thought to be safe because mine sweeping had not turned up any IED’s there.

“Suddenly, everything went white,” said Jon. “I felt a dirty, dusty rain and tried crawling. I saw blood and knew one of my legs was blown off.”

He spoke about the doctor asking him on a 1-10 scale, how bad did he hurt. “It hurts.” Jon replied, asking for morphine. He said the field medics “shot him up.”

Karen Blank, in the Texas hospital room with her son, said, “He’s doing great.”

Blank reported his son asked hospital staff about the record recovery time from injuries such as his and was told “four and a half months." His father feels it might be more like a year, but said Jon told the staff. “I expect to at least tie that recovery record.

Kansas Army National Guardsman and Augusta High School teacher Sgt. Todd Hollis, along with Jon's twin brother Linden Blank (who is also a former Marine) and friend Rachel, attended to the Skype equipment in the gym. Photo: Michael McDermott, Augusta Gazette.

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