‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ Sibling to Speak at Daemen

December 12, 2013

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Bobby Mills
Special Assistant to the President
Daemen College
(716) 566-7881

Air Force Colonel Patricia S. Blassie will speak at Daemen College about her older brother, the Viet Nam era veteran whose remains were buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Colonel Blassie will be at Daemens Wick Campus Center on Thursday, January 16th from 2:00-3:00 P.M., to discuss her familys fight to determine if Michael Blassie was the solider buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Solder for the Viet Nam Conflict.

Colonel Patricia Blassies interest in and devotion to the POW/MIA issue is reflected in her familys quest to find the remains of her brother, 1st Lt. Colonel Michael J. Blassie,said Colonel Walter Gordon, Director of Daemens Center for Veterans and Veterans Family Services. From the time Michael Blassie was shot down in South Viet Nam in 1972 until his remains were disinterred from the Tomb of the Unknowns in 1998, the Blassie family never lost sight of their goal: find Michael and lay him to rest in his hometown of St. Louis.

1st Lt. Colonel Michael Blassie was shot down during a mission in 1972 out of Bien Hoa in South Viet Nam. The family was notified of Michaels death but six months later after his plane was shot down the crash site was discovered by a South Viet Nam Army patrol. The identification card of Col. Blassie and his remains were found along with remnants of his flight suit. Unknown to the family, however, his remains were entombed in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington.

The story of the familys journey to identify if the Unknown Soldier was Lt. Col. Blassie began in 1997 , 26 years later, with DNA testing of the remains in the Tomb of the Unknown, corroboration that in fact Michael was that soldier, and the return of his remains to his hometown of St. Louis for burial at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis in 1998.

The Blassie familys remarkable story will be the focus of the Air Force Col. Patricia Blassies presentation at Daemen College on January 16th.

Colonel Patricia S. Blassie is the Chief, Air Force Reserve Professional Development Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

In 1980 after completing four years of active duty military service, Col. Blassie returned to her hometown of St. Louis while attending the University of Missouri, she jointed the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Her Reserve assignments have included Scott AFB in Illinois; Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia, and support to the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., as well as assignments at Andrews AFB in Maryland and at the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Air Reserve Station.

Her combined service time, both active duty and reserve total 34 years. Col. Blassie attained the rank of Master Sergeant before being commissioned as Second Lieutenant in 1989 under the Deserving Airman Program. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as Executive Officer to the Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. and as Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

The public is encouraged to attend this free event on January 16th at Daemen College, Wick Campus Center, 4380 Main Street, Amherst, New York 14226.

For additional information on this event, please contact the Office of Enrollment at (716) 839-8225.

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