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Col John Dean Blanchard

Aurora, Kane County, Illinois, USA
Death 10 Jan 1954 (aged 52)
Hagatna (Agana), Guam
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 4, Site: 2684-B
Memorial ID 49123785 · View Source
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On 10 January 1954, thirty-four years of service to his Corps and Country came to an untimely end when Colonel John Dean Blanchard, USMC, died on the Island of Guam at the age of fifty-two. Colonel Blanchard was Commanding Officer of the Marine Barracks, Guam, and a member of the Staff of the Commander, Naval Forces, Marianas. On 7 January he suffered a fractured skull when he collapsed in a reception line waiting at the Naval Air Station to greet Admiral Roscoe Good. The Colonel's death resulted three days later.

Colonel Blanchard is survived by his wife, the former Olive Caldwell (daughter of Mrs. J.H. Caldwell and the late Judge Caldwell, of New York City) and by one son, James who is twelve years of age. Mrs Blanchard and their son were with the Colonel on Guam. A sister, Mrs. Elizabeth B. Caitlin, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Colonel Blanchard was a member of the Class of 1925, U.S. Naval Academy. He held the Navy Cross for heroism in Haiti in 1929, commanded two famous Marine Corps Regiments, had seen service at sea, and had been stationed at Philadelphia, New York, Wakefield, San Diego, Bremerton, Quantico, Norfolk, Pensacola, Alaska, Washington D.C., Cuba, China, Pearl Harbor, and Japan. He held important staff and command assignments throughout World War II.

John Dean Blanchard was born on August 8, 1901, at Aurora, Illinois. In March of 1920, one year after graduation from high at Appleton, Wisconsin, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. With less than one year's service as an enlisted man, he won a highly competitive appointment to the Naval Academy. Following his graduation in June of 1925, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

As a young lieutenant, Colonel Blanchard's assignments included various posts in the United States and a tour of expeditionary duty with the 4th Marines in Shanghai. This Regiment was stationed in China for many years to protect American lives and interests which were threatened by internal strife and turmoil in that unfortunate country. The Colonel was to see more of the 4th Marines in China in later years.

In November of 1929, Colonel Blanchard again sailed for foreign duty. This time he reported to the 1st Marine Brigade in the Republic of Haiti. It was there that he earned the Navy Cross for heroism.

On December 6, less than a month after his arrival, the then Lieutenant Blanchard was in command of a patrol of twenty-one Marines near the Haitian city of Aux Cayes. About a mile from the city, his patrol discovered a mob of approximately fifteen hundred hostile Haitians, waving knives and machetes, intent on sacking Aux Cayes and slaughtering its inhabitants. Blanchard personally confronted the mob and made strenuous and repeated attempts to talk them into a peaceful return to their homes. After a short time, the hostile Haitians took positions in some surrounding cane fields and prepared to attack his small patrol. Seeing that persuasion was useless and that his men were in imminent danger of annihilation, the young lieutenant ordered a short burst of fire. This action routed the mob and saved the people of the threatened town.

Colonel Blanchard returned to the United States in April of 1932. During the next ten years, his assignments were widely scattered. Following promotion to captain, he was ordered to sea in June, 1935, as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment, USS INDIANAPOLIS. He returned ashore in June of 1937 upon completion of his tour. Another command billet saw him in charge of the Marine Detachment at the Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska, from January 1940 to March 1941.

In April of 1941, Colonel Blanchard was ordered to Headquarters Marine Corps as Officer-in-Charge of the Ordnance Division, Marine Corps Quartermaster Department. His excellent service in this assignment earned him the Legion of Merit. It also held him on the staff of the Commandant during the first years of World War II.

In February of 1944, the Colonel was ordered to the Central Pacific area. His experience and particular abilities resulted in his assignment there to the Staff of the Commanding General, Service Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Until June of 1945, he was Officer-in-Charge of the Ordnance Division of that command. He was again decorated, this time being awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

During the last great battle of World War II, Colonel Blanchard was given command of the 22d Marines, an infantry regiment of the famous 6th Marine Division. In the final drive made by the Division to clear Southern Okinawa of the enemy, Colonel Blanchard led his Regiment with skill and precision.

With the Japanese surrender, the 6th Marine Division was ordered to North China to supervise the surrender of the Japanese forces there. Colonel Blanchard took his regiment to Tsingtao. When the 22d Marines was disbanded in the Spring of 1946, he returned to his old regiment, the 4th Marines in which he had served as a young second lieutenant at Shanghai. This time he was its Commanding Officer.

In August, 1946, Colonel Blanchard returned to Headquarters Marine Corps for another tour as head of the Ordnance Division. This was terminated by his entering the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, in June of 1947. After completion of the course in May of 1948, the Colonel again returned to Washington D.C. This time he was Technical Planner and Marine Corps Liaison Officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In August, 1950, Colonel Blanchard was named Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4 (Logistics) of Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, at Norfolk, Virginia. He continued in that capacity until November 1951, then served briefly in other staff duties at Norfolk until January 1952, when he embarked for Yokosuka, Japan. There he commanded the 1st Provisional Casual Company and the Marine Barracks until September 1952. The following month he assumed the command he held at his death.

In addition to the Navy Cross, Bronze Star Medal and Legion of Merit, the Colonel held the Yangtze Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the American Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, the Brazilian Order of the Southern Cross (awarded him in 1936 while aboard the INDIANAPOLIS) and the Chinese Collar Order of the Cloud and Banner.