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Soldier thanks Blades pupils for support


January 26, 2005 - A veteran of the war in Iraq recently visited Blades Elementary School to thank fifth-graders for their support.

U.S. Army Pfc. Robert Blankemeier stopped by Blades while home on leave to visit 90 excited fifth-graders, according to a Mehlville School District news release.

Blankemeier thanked the pupils for "adopting" him and sending him a sack of support letters to his base in Iraq. He said he stayed awake until 2 a.m. reading the letters, even though he had to get up at 5 a.m. to report for duty.

Blankemeier is serving in the 92F, 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

Dressed in his Army uniform, the 23-year-old Blankemeier also spent an hour answering more than a hundred questions from his inquisitive hosts, the release stated. Pupils learned that it can get as hot as 150 degrees in the shade in Iraq.

Blankemeier also told them the Royal Palace was the most beautiful building in Iraq and that he's never had to fire at an enemy.

Pupils also had the opportunity to see Blankemeier's Purple Heart medal. He earned the honor after surviving a rocket attack at his base, suffering shrapnel in his back and neck.

Blankemeier also brought along samples of Iraqi currency to compare the difference in value with American money.

An Oakville High School graduate, he recalled visiting Blades to do volunteer work during high school. He also recalled writing letters to soldiers during the 1991 Gulf War. Before ending his visit, Blankemeier signed autographs and posed for photos with pupils and staff.

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