Sergeant Major (SGM) Robert J. Blatnik, of Cleveland, Ohio, passed into eternal life in the arms of his heavenly Father and Jewish Messiah, at the beautiful age of 100, on December 5th, 2020.
Robert J. Blatnik enlisted in United States Army in October of 1938, at the age of 18 with a determined desire to serve his country. He worked with combat intelligence and proved skilled in drafting topographical maps following training with the Corps of Engineers. SGM Blatnik was honorably discharged in August of 1945, as a proud member of the 1st Battalion, 26th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, which is also known as the Big Red 1. Prior to the invasion of North Africa at Oran, he was handpicked by General Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt, Jr. to serve as his Sergeant Major. During WWII, General Roosevelt stated that his Sergeant Major was his key into the morale of the troops, and that he valued that resource.
SGM Blatnik was considered a seasoned infantryman, having been part of the invasions of North Africa (Algerian-French Morocco Campaign, Tunisia Campaign), Sicily (Sicilian Campaign- Battle of Gela), Germany (campaign of Germany), France- (Campaign of Normandy, France), and Belgium. SGM Blatnik was wounded multiple times, receiving medical treatment then returning to continue fighting alongside his men. SGM Blatnik and his men stormed Omaha Beach (Fox-Red-One), during the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day).
Since leaving the battlefield, SGM Blatnik worked for the U.S. Post Office in Ohio. He received a Career Service award during his federal employment in 1972, from the Cleveland Federal Executive Boards for directing occupants from a burning building while on his mail route, where he saved a child by performing CPR. After retirement from the USPS, SGM Blatnik then spent countless hours as a Volunteer Firefighter/ Paramedic at South Padre Island. SGM Blatnik then went on to participate in the National Veteran’s Golden Age Games for many years, where he won many medals. SGM Blatnik also dedicated over 10,000 hours to the Dallas Veterans Affairs Hospital.
SGM Robert Blatnik is preceded by his son, Guy Blatnik and survived by his wife, Marlene Blatnik; his children, Loretta Anne, Harry Blatnik and Holly Davidson; and his grandchildren Jane Kitko, Amanda Blatnik, Ethan Davidson and Josiah Davidson.
Purple Heart – 4 American Campaign Medal
Silver Star American Defense Service Medal
Bronze Star with 5 oak leaf clusters Presidential Unit Citation
Good Conduct Medal European-African- Middle Eastern (EAME)
French Citation Medal Campaign Medal with one bronze star service
Belgium Citation Medal and one silver service star with arrowhead
Expert Rifleman and Expert Pistol WWII Victory Medal
French Fourragere Combat Infantryman Badge, 1st Award
Belgian Fourragere Honorable Service Lapel Button
Distinguished Unit Badge
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