KIA March 5, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Army SGT Blake Harris was killed March 5, 2007, by a command-detonated improvised explosive device near his unit in Baqubah, Iraq. Also killed were SPC Ryan D. Russell and PVT Barry W. Mayo. SGT Harris was serving his second deployment to Iraq when he was killed.
Blake Harris was born April 25, 1984, to parents John and Deborah in Denver, Colorado. He would be the couple’s first and only son. Blake had worked long and hard to be in the Army—After spending three years with the ROTC at South High School in Pueblo, Colorado, he enlisted in the Army after his graduation in 2002. His mother, Deborah, said her son made his decision after a recruiter came to campus. “He came home and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to join the Army. I’m going to serve my country,’” she recalled. “It was in his blood for sure.” Blake’s father had spent 11 years in the 1st Cavalry Division during Vietnam and Blake followed suit, serving in the 1st Cavalry just like his father.
Blake was a self-described class clown. He was known in his close circle to be a ‘master barbecuer’ and his family often teased that he could take forever it seemed to barbecue a chicken, but at least he was good at it. Blake was also a talented wood-worker, but the favorite of his favorite hobbies, besides listening to music where he boasted a very large CD collection, was skateboarding. He had been among a group of teenagers who had lobbied City Council to create a skateboard park for the Pueblo youth. In the spring of 2010, city skate park was officially renamed the “Sergeant Blake A. Harris Skateboard Park.” At the parks re-naming, CPT Lisa Northway, a Fort Carson chaplain, praised Blake for being a role model for Pueblo’s young people. “They will be inspired by Blake Harris and his life,” she told the audience, which included more than a dozen skateboarders in T-shirts and jeans, who were perched on the park’s concrete ramps and steps to listen in the sunshine; it wasn’t hard for his family to imagine Blake among them.
SGT Blake Harris is survived by his parents, John and Deborah Harris; wife, Joanna; and son, Jonah.
SGT Blake Harris was 22 years old from Pueblo, Colorado
Original portrait was presented September 21, 2012, to his parents and family during a special event held in Castle Pines, Colorado.