Oct. 7, 1971 Greencastle Putnam County Indiana, USA
Jun. 6, 2006, Iraq
Army Staff Sgt. Blakley was assigned to the 38th Main Support Battalion, Indiana Army National Guard, Indianapolis, Indiana, as a medic. Blakley was killed when he was hit by enemy small arms fire during dismounted combat patrol operations in Khalidiyah. Richard was a 1990 graduate of Avon High School, Avon, Indiana. In civilian life, he was a journeyman millwright putting together machinery and heavy equipment. He has also served in the Persian Gulf War and at U.S. ports in 2003 and 2004. On January 16, 2006, Richard was hit by a bullet that went through his body armor at the back of his neck and penetrated his shoulder. He managed to get out of the line of fire, find cover and radio for help. After being taken back to the clinic and operated on, he requested to return to work the same day. The sniper who was later caught was notorious in the area and was credited with more than 30 kills. On April 15, 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana presented him with a Purple Heart in Baghdad. One of Richard's concerns after being shot was the condition of his favorite gray, sleeveless Colts shirt he was wearing under his uniform. The shirt was bloodstained as the bullet had pierced it. Although it is against Army regulations, Blakley admitted that he always wore his Colts shirt under his uniform on game days. When the Indianapolis Colts officials heard the story, they volunteered to send him a new shirt, signed by all the players, and he was to be honored on the field at a Colts home game when he got home this fall. Survivors include his wife, Patty, and two children.