Nicholas William B Bloem

Nicholas William B. Bloem
U.S. Marine Reserve
Lance Corporal

Parents praise Marine as patriot

BOZEMAN (AP) — The bereaved parents of a Montana Marine killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq praised their son Friday as a hero, a patriot who loved the Marines, his country and God.

Al and Debbie Bloem, clutching each others’ hands for support, said they still can’t believe what happened two days earlier. They spoke of the “waves” of grief that washed over them and their son’s nine brothers and sisters when they got word.

Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas Bloem died Wednesday in Iraq, one day after he turned 20. He was scheduled to return to Montana in a matter of weeks. The Belgrade man was one of 14 Marines killed in an attack south of Haditha, Iraq.

The news conference was arranged by the U.S. Marine Corps at the recruiting office here where Bloem enlisted two years ago.

He had been stationed in Iraq since March.

He was in an Amphibious Assault Vehicle with Marines from the Ohio-based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Division when it was hit by a roadside bomb.

Bloem graduated in 2003 from Belgrade High School, moving to Montana with his family from Bellevue, Wash., just before his senior year.

His father said Bloem had been excited about joining the military and chose the Marines because “he wanted the hardest and he wanted the best.”

Memorial services for Bloem are pending.

Story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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