|Return to Blamires's profile | Return to the list|
Service honors fallen soldier
SOUTH JORDAN — When enemy ground fire started targeting the U.S. Army Chinook helicopter in front of his, Sgt. Jesse Blamires used his machine gun "without even thinking about it."
Blamires, who survived a tour in Iraq to later serve in Afghanistan, eventually saved the aircraft ahead by drawing the enemy fire to his helicopter. It put Blamires and his crew in harm's way - until another soldier did the same for them. He survived the firefight.
A few weeks later, on May 30, Blamires died in a helicopter crash. But his fellow crew members don't want folks to forget his legacy.
"When you talk about heroes, people are probably not going to mention Jesse, but his actions that night undoubtedly were heroic," said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Mark Jones in an interview. "He was a hero."
About 300 relatives, friends and strangers attended Blamires' memorial service on Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints River 7th Ward Building, which was surrounded by U.S. flags.
Blamires was one of seven soldiers - including five from the United States - who were killed when their Chinook helicopter was reportedly shot down by Taliban militants and crashed.
The father of two who grew up in Salt Lake City's suburbs was 25.
During the service that lasted more than an hour, a few of Blamires' siblings and friends talked about him as his wife Kimberly sat with her daughters - 4-year-old Kelli and 8-month-old Danika.
Tracy Dansie, a family friend, recited a poem that Blamires read to his wife shortly after they had started dating.
"You make me feel like I can fly," she read. "You make me feel like I can't die."
In a short prayer, Eric Blamires, Jesse's brother, asked God to help their family cope with losing a wonderful husband, father, son and brother.
"We ask that we in due time come to understand his passing," he said holding back tears.
Julie Blamires, Jesse's sister and buddy, joked about her brother's "ABC's blankie" that he carried around with him when he was a kid and how their brothers use to steal it. She also remembered when the two used to play Star Wars.
For as long as she can remember, he always wanted to have a family and be a pilot.
"He died doing what he loved," she said.
Jesse Blamires was also a big Spiderman fan and liked computer games. His favorite was one called "City of Heroes," said friend Andrew Morris. Morris and his wife said they were looking forward to seeing their old roommate in August during Blamires' next scheduled trip to Utah. The two best friends were planning to go fishing and start building a new computer. Morris said Blamires had a giving heart.
"He was always quick to help, whether you wanted it or not," Morris said between deep breathes.
At the burial service, Blamires' wife and his mother, Sandra, each were presented with a U.S. flag and honors, including a Bronze Star Medal, for Blamires' military service.
And in complying with his last request a few weeks ago, Blamires was buried near his Grandma Hansen in Salt Lake City Cemetery overlooking the valley.