Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Passing of a Friend

I think often about the people I knew in Taiwan. Many of them were good friends who could always bring a smile to my face. That same smile returns when I think about them even today.

There were a few people who weren't exactly close friends, of course. It's funny, but today I remember them with a fondness that I suppose comes with the passing of time and the maturity that accompanies it. I like to think that their recollections of me may have undergone the same evolution.

One of the good guys at the US Taiwan Defense Command was Army Lieutenant Colonel Clay Blanton who worked in J-1 from 1973 until 1975. He arrived about the same time I did and I worked for him until the day I left.

He was a mustang who worked his way up through the enlisted ranks which I think helped him understand all sides of many issues. He and I didn't always agree but I believe that we arrived at the right solution most of the time. His job could be difficult sometimes, with pressure coming from many different directions, but he performed it with the utmost professionalism.

I just learned that LTC Blanton passed away last April in Topeka, Kansas. I understand that his next job after Taiwan was as the Senior Army Adviser with the Kansas National Guard, and that's where he decided to retire. He was a product of Texas and Oklahoma and I'm sure that he blended well with the down-to-earth folks of the Sunflower State.

Rest in peace, Colonel. It was an honor to have served with you.

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