Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

December 17, 2013

Marine triumphs over war wounds

(Continued)

More training took place, this time in the Mojave Desert and with 120 Iraqi citizens. Serving with the First Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, “there were gunfire and explosions every single day .... there were lives being lost.”

Bleill’s wounds occurred in Fallujah while on patrol and an improvised explosive device struck his Humvee. “My world went blank. That bomb went off directly under my side of the vehicle.” He was unconscious when fellow Marines “went into that fire and saved me.”

Five days later, he awoke to find internal injuries, a severe traumatic brain injury, his jaw wired shut, casts on both wrists and a tracheotomy needed so he could breathe. His legs were partially amputated.

The emotional wounds were even tougher. “My friends were in that vehicle with me. They had to explain the hardest part of this ordeal.” Two of his friends had died. A gunner thrown from the vehicle lost his right leg. The driver, on the side farthest from the bomb, was miraculously untouched.

“I was hurt. I was scared. I was angry … My faith was definitely tested.”

He was transferred from a German hospital to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.

At 29, the former Purdue lacrosse player weighed 115 pounds and was in a wheelchair. He recalled, “I refused to go out in public. I couldn’t deal with the stares … I didn’t want to look weak.” Bleill was offered chances to go scuba diving and horseback riding. “I became very notorious for saying no to these trips. I had a good sergeant. He never gave up.”

The sergeant asked, “‘How would you like to go see the Indianapolis Colts play the Chicago Bears? In the Super Bowl?’” The born-and-raised Colts fan said yes. “This was a dream for me. It was the first time I left the hospital.” Bringing home the championship in 2007 “was awesome,” but the Marine learned the trip “was so much bigger than a football game for me. I didn’t care if people looked … I knew I was blessed just to be alive.”

Text Only
Features
  • nws - bv072914 - kids kick drugs (new) 'You can say no' to drugs About 50 youngsters participated in the Southeastern Indiana YMCA’s Kids Kick Drugs program July 26. Master George Dwenger (a person receives the title of Master after completing the 4th Degree Black Belt) told the youngsters, “First and most importa

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - muething RAA gave theater founder his start When John Leo Muething was 5 and living in Batesville, his three older siblings and parents, Dr. Steve and Meg Muething, starred in the Rural Alliance for the Arts production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” but, much to his dismay,

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - jeffers West Point graduation Jeffers savors West Point experience Tom Jeffers, a 2010 Batesville High School graduate, recently graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Fort Sill, Oklahoma, resident is the son of former Batesville residents Tom and Kathleen Jeffers, Alexandria, Virginia,

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv062714 - STEM - sara bauer Students learn valuable STEM skills Two area students attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Workshop June 2-5.Alexandra Cottingham, Batesville, daughter of Rebecca Krieger Cottingham and Michael Cottingham,

    June 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws - bv062014 - Eckstein family Cancer hits home for local family Cancer survivors and those who have lost their fight with the disease will be honored during the June 21-22 Ripley County Relay for Life. One local individual who will be remembered is Mark Eckstein, Batesville, who worked for the Batesville Water an

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv061314 - Wilson, Alex Wilson explores CIA and Ukraine Next month in Chicago, Alex Wilson will start working as an investment banking analyst at Bank of Montreal (BMO), doing financial analysis and modeling for a group within the Capital Markets division. The 2010 Batesville High School graduate just ear

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv060614 - Betts in Scotland Student helps mastermind museum exhibit Tomorrow Alex Betts, a 2009 Batesville High School graduate, will be standing at a museum door in England, welcoming his family (parents Bill and George Ann Betts and brothers Jairus, 19, and Arno, 14) to an exhibit he helped create. "Diving into Dur

    June 6, 2014 3 Photos

  • nws - bv051614 - McDonough speaking Detective recalls working with Princess Diana BROOKVILLE - Rich McDonough has had an exciting career as a private detective, working for various celebrities and political figures. He told the story about one of his most memorable clients, the late Princess Diana of Wales, on April 16 as part of

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv050214 - Kreinhop, Bertha with book Cancer battle recounted in book

    May 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv041814 - Harley, Bill (entertaining) Students sing along with Harley

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook