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The calling to serve your country hits from many different angles. For some, it is seen as an educational opportunity and for others, it is a personal patriotic value.

For the Blecha family of Morgan County, it seems to be in the genes. and Velma Blecha moved to Morgan County in the fall of 1937. They raised 12 children; eight sons and four daughters, on a farm in the Wildcat Creek area northeast of the airport.

All the Blecha children attended Fort Morgan schools. Navy.

In addition, two grandsons born in Morgan County have also served. Coast Guard. Navy. Most of his 22 year career was in aviation as a Flight Engineer on the P3 Orion Aircraft. He served several deployments in Vietnam and was awarded two Air Medals. Some of his other duty stations while in the service were deployments to Guam, Japan, Philippines, Alaska and Hawaii. They have three children and seven grandchildren, all living in the San Diego area.

Edward joined the Navy in June 1966 and was stationed in Hawaii. The ship he was on was the USS Taylor DD468. The ship made three deployments to Vietnam for support of our troops. He was transferred to NAS Alameda in California for eight months, and then was sent to San Diego to board the USS Ticonderoga in 1969. They were deployed to Vietnam for air support and bombing missions for eight months. He was discharged in January of 1970.

Harry joined the National Guard in Fort Morgan in January 1956 to serve his country in peace time. He belonged to the 142nd Field Artillery Battalion Battery A. His weapons were the 155 and 240 Howitzer towed guns. The first year his battalion went to Fort Carson in June for field exercises and again in the third year.

After four years in the Guard, he was placed on active reserve for two years, spending two weeks at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1960 with the field artillery. After three more years on inactive reserve, he received his Honorable Discharge from the Colorado National Guard. He says it was an honor to serve our great country.

Jeff graduated from Fort Morgan High School in the class of 1982. After working a campaign at Western Sugar in 1983, he joined the Navy and went to recruit basic training in San Diego in February of 1984. He completed boot camp in April that year and then was assigned to Radioman “A” school. He completed this training, and was transferred to Groton CT for additional training, eventually being assigned to USS Tripoli (LPH 10) in October that year. During his tour on Tripoli, he visited San Francisco, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia, on goodwill visits.

Tripoli sailed to Pearl Harbor for refresher training and examination in January of 1987. Then in June of that year, Tripoli deployed to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean. During this deployment, Jeff was able to visit Okinawa, Japan, Busan and Pohang, Korea, Subic Bay (Olongapo), Philippines and Pattaya (Bangkok), Thailand. In addition, he went to Singapore and Fremantle, Western Australia.

Jeff completed active duty in February 1988 and returned to Perth, Western Australia, where he currently still lives with his wife, Deb.

Marion joined the Air Force on Nov. 6, 1957,
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shortly after graduating from Fort Morgan High School. He spent 11 weeks in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. He was sent to Castle Air Force Base for liquid fuel and aircraft refueling maintenance. He then went to Thule, Greenland, for 11 months and 11 days. He returned to March Air Force Base and was honorably discharged in 1963.

He returned to Fort Morgan and currently lives in Longmont. Navy on Nov. 17, 1954, just as the Korean War was winding down. He was headed to Korea when they were directed to return to the states because the war was ending. He served aboard the USS Intrepid, which is now moored in San Diego, California, as a permanent historical museum. He was an electrical technician while in the Navy. He served in the Navy for several years in various parts of the world, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Jim was honorably discharged on Oct. 31, 1958, but served in the reserves until Nov. 16, 1962. Coast Guard on Jan. 30, 1984, and attended initial training (boot camp) in Cape May, New Jersey. Todd graduated in the top 10 of his class and was selected to serve aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, a Coast Guard Academy Officer square rigger training ship, where he served sailing it to the New Orleans World Fair as his first duty assignment. Todd then moved on to Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the USCG Station Brant Point Search and Rescue Station on the island of Nantucket, where his primary mission was search and rescue at this small boat station.

After training in Yorktown, Virginia, Todd was assigned to the USCG Cutter Mallow (WLB 396), a 180 foot Buoy Tender, which was charged with maintaining aids to navigation in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the southwestern Pacific ocean. Navy Dive School at Pearl Harbor Training Center. Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and the USCG, seizing over 30,000 pounds of marijuana in a mother ship operation originating out of the country of Panama.

Todd’s last unit was the Tactical Law Enforcement Training Unit (TACLET 7) District Seven in Miami, Florida. Coast Guard personnel with conducting law enforcement operations as a Master Instructor. While assigned to TACLET 7, he was deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the Middle East Persian Gulf to enforce United Nations sanctions levied against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Coast Guard Achievement medal, National Defense Service ribbon and USCG Commandants Letter of Commendation ribbon. Customs Service in Miami.

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