Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Coy (Clinton C.) Blodgett dies 'when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device'

WILSON — A 19-year-old soldier from Wilson was killed Saturday while patrolling an area in Iraq for bombs, his family said Tuesday.

Spc. Clinton Coy Blodgett, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 18th Infantry based in Germany, was killed by an explosive device.

Funeral arrangements are pending with the Alexander Funeral Home in Wilson.

Coy Blodgett was in Iraq a little more than a year before returning to Wilson to visit his family in March, said his father, Don Blodgett. During his two-week leave, the Blodgetts got professional photos taken of Coy in his uniform with his brother and sister. And they enjoyed the outdoors, in spite of the weather.

"I think we were the only people on Lake Murray skiing and tubing,” Blodgett said. "It was pretty cold.”

After spending a few months "getting into trouble,” Coy Blodgett decided to follow in his father's footsteps and join the military. Don Blodgett, who served in the Oklahoma National Guard during Desert Storm, encouraged his son.

"He decided to go for it. He wanted to do something with his life,” he said. "He wasn't scared. He was pretty fearless — even more so after he got in.”

Blodgett had to sign a paper allowing his son to join the military because he wasn't 18 yet. For Coy Blodgett, the military made sense, his father said.

"He was just independent,” Blodgett said. "He always liked guns, hunting, driving four-wheelers. Over there, he was shooting guns and driving Humvees. He was doing all the things he loved to do. He was really gung ho.”

When his time in the Army was done, Coy Blodgett said he wanted to return to Baghdad to work as a security guard, his father said.

Coy Blodgett was at ease in new places, having lived in Alaska and moving many times with his father, who works for an oil company.

"I don't think he was ever at one school for more than a year,” Blodgett said. "He was well-traveled.”

Blodgett has spent the past few days dealing with the death of a child, which has included picking out a headstone and deciding where his son should be buried. As well as they can, the family is coping and honoring Coy Blodgett's sacrifice.

"There's a lot of kids getting killed over there,” Blodgett said. "I was hoping it wouldn't be one of mine. But everybody's got to pay the price, otherwise they'll be killing us in our living rooms.”

From the Oklahoman