The JP Blecksmith Memorial 5K run was held in San Marino Monday, benefiting a foundation created to perpetuate the legacy of a Marine Corps second lieutenant killed while leading his platoon in Iraq.
The run is the signature event hosted by the JP Blecksmith Leadership Foundation, which was created to perpetuate the legacy and honor the life and sacrifice of J.P. Blecksmith, a Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant killed in Fallujah, Iraq on Nov. 11, 2004, while leading his Marines in support of Operation Phantom Fury.
Proceeds from the race support several memorial scholarships. The foundation has also supported veterans’ memorials in the San Gabriel Valley.
The San Marino resident graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a receiver on the academy’s football team. He played quarterback and ran track at Flintridge Preparatory School.
Blecksmith was killed during the Second Battle of Fallujah. He was a 24-year-old platoon commander with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. His awards included the National Defense Service Medal.
The JP Blecksmith Memorial 5K has been run annually on Independence Day in San Marino or virtually since 2005. The last two editions were held virtually.
Blecksmith was described by his brother Alex, the foundation’s founder and president, as “a young man of unflappable integrity and perseverance, a gifted athlete, a compassionate friend, a fierce patriot and a devoted leader. With a great sense of humor, J.P. had an infinite list of dreams, goals and aspirations.”
“Like so many of the men and women who either serve or have served in the military, J.P. embodied all that is right with this great country,” Alex Blecksmith said. “Our mission is to keep his memory and legacy of leadership alive.”