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Gene Blade - Cold War Era

Gene Blade was raised on a small west central Illinois farm, and joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1954. Two years later he enlisted in the Regular Army and served in an artillery unit in Hawaii before returning to Illinois and the family farm. Throughout the 1960s he owned a tire store and moved up through the Illinois National Guard, including a long tour as an artillery battery commander. By the late 1970s he became the Guard's first legislative liaison, and throughout the 1980s served as the United States Property and Fiscal Officer for the Illinois National Guard.

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Photos

Caption

Gene Blade is the blond in the back row center for the 8th grade class picture for the Shortsville School (one room school) near Cameron, Illinois in February, 1948. His friends called Gene ‘Cotton Top’.

Where:

Cameron, Illinois

When:

February, 1948

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The cross at Kolekole Pass on Oahu Island marked the spot where Japanese aircraft flew over on their way to attacking Schofield Barracks on December 7, 1941. The cross was erected after the attack, Sergeant Blade was in charge of repainting it.

Where:

Kolekole Pass on Oahu Island

When:

1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Sergeant Blade stands outside his unit’s Fire Direction Center Quonset hut at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in 1958. Schofield Barracks was the home of the 25th Infantry Division.

Where:

Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

When:

1958

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene and Marilyn Blade celebrate when leaving Hawaii in August, 1958. They returned on the SS Leilani, a commercial ocean liner.

Where:

Hawaii

When:

August, 1958

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Gene Blade’s Illinois OCS graduation photo in June, 1960. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Where:

Unknown

When:

June, 1960

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Blade and Lt McIntyre, ‘A’ Btry CO and XO, stand next to the 8 inch howitzer prime mover. The unit changed flags from being ‘A’ Btry, 1/123rd FA, 33rd Div to ‘C’ Btry, 2/123rd FA, 47th Infty Div and turned in their 8 inch guns for 105 mm howitzers.

Where:

Galesburg, Illinois

When:

1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

First Sergeant Robert A. Miller and Captain Blade stand by the 8 inch gun’s prime mover, a 10 ton truck in the unit’s armory in Galesburg, circa 1968.

Where:

Galesburg, Illinois

When:

Circa 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant McIntyre stands next to an 8 inch gun inside the Galesburg Armory. The unit traded in two 8 inch guns for six 105 mm howitzers at the same time it changed from A Battery, 1-123rd FA to ‘C’ Battery, 2-123rd FA.

Where:

Galesburg Armory

When:

Circa, 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

‘A’ Battery, 1-123rd FA artillerymen gather on the Galesburg Armory drill floor for a unit photo at the unit’s last drill before trading in their 8 inch guns for 105 mm howitzers.

Where:

Galesburg Armory

When:

Circa, 1960

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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Caption

Five year old son Douglas in 1968 sits atop heavy-duty tires ready to be delivered to a farmer to be added to his tractor. Blade’s Tire Shop had a large agricultural clientele.

Where:

Monmouth, Illinois

When:

Circa 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Blades Firestone service truck outside Blade’s Firestone store in Monmouth in the late 1960s. Gene Blade built a new store in the late 1960s. Between his duties as Battery Commander and the owner of a thriving tire business, Blade kept very busy.

Where:

Monmouth, Illinois

When:

Circa late 1960's

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

LTC Lou Myers, Major General John Phipps and LTC Gene Blade meet with Gov Jim Thompson during the legislature’s budget talks. They were given a hand receipt for Abraham Lincoln’s rocking chair. Blade was the Guard’s legislative liaison at the time.

Where:

Unknown

When:

February, 1979

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Captain Blade in the field at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma while he served as a battalion S-2 (Intelligence Officer) for Headquarters Battery, 2nd BN, 123rd Field Artillery in July, 1973.

Where:

Ft. Sill, Oklahoma

When:

July, 1973

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The change of command ceremony for the 1st BN, 123rd Field Artillery, 66th Brigade, 47th Infantry Division in December, 1979. Major Knutenson took over command from LTC Gene Blade.

Where:

Unknown

When:

December, 1979

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Colonel Gene Blade in his Class A (formal) uniform in the early 1980s, while he served as Illinois’ USP

Where:

Unknown

When:

Early 1980s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Colonel Gene Blade receives a graduation certificate for the Air Force Comptroller School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama from General Herb Temple (Chief, National Guard Bureau) in 1986.

Where:

Maxwell AFB, Alabama

When:

1986

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Ground-breaking ceremony for the new Air National Guard base. Bob Michel, unknown, Asst. Sec. of Air Force for Facilities Richard Carver, Lane Evans, Mayor Archie ‘Doc’ Yeley, Mayor Jim Maloof, COL Kenneth Peterson, General Dick Eslinger and COL Blade.

Where:

Oeoria, Illinois

When:

August, 1987

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new Air National Guard base at Peoria in August, 1987. COL Blade helped create the long-handled shovel.

Where:

Peoria, Illinois

When:

August, 1987

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The 2nd BN, 123rd Field Artillery was awarded the Best Property Accountability Award circa fall, 1988 while training at the Henderson County Forest Preserve. From left to right are CSM Don Foley, LTC Bob Fitch and COL Blade.

Where:

Henderson County Forest Preserve

When:

Circa fall, 1988

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

COL Gene and Marilyn Blade at a NGAUS (National Guard Association of the U.S.) Conference, circa 1989.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1989

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The activation ceremony for the 1st BN, 202nd Air Defense Artillery. From left to right are CSM Roger Van Opdorp, COL Blade, COL Jim Burgess, LTC Jim Welch, Major Gen. Harold Holesinger (The Adjutant General), LTC Randolph Harrison and COL Earl Tatum.

Where:

Kewanee, Illinois

When:

1998

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

COL Blade addresses the audience at the 1991 Memorial Day Ceremony at the Monmouth, Illinois Court House. American Legion officer LeRoy Davis stands to the left of the podium.

Where:

Monmouth, Illinois

When:

1991

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

COL Blade presents a plaque to COL Russ Delany for appreciation of the superb job Delany did as Chief of the Comptroller Division at National Guard Bureau during the USP

Where:

Unknown

When:

1993

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.



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