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Robert “Bob” Lynn Blankman (Lt. Col, Usaf, Ret.)

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Lt. Colonel Robert (Bob) Lynn Blankmann passed away peacefully on February 10, 2021 and joined his beloved wife Joan Blankmann, predeceased in 2013. He is survived by his daughters Dearing Blankmann and Meghan Blankmann, son-in-law Michael Selden (Dearing), grand-daughters Dr. Corday Selden and Avery Selden, sister Diana Hoard (Michael Hoard and family) and brother-in-law Patrick Bohan (Dee Bohan and family).

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, March 4, 1946, Bob reflected a spirit of adventure and an interest in engineering, science and scholarship at an early age. He was a graduate of Country Day High School in St. Louis, received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Yale University, a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Indiana University and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from George Washington University in Washington D.C.

After marrying Joan in 1967 and beginning his graduate work at Indiana University, Bob joined the U.S. Air Force in 1969 and subsequently spent a 24-year career serving his country in military service including active duty through the Vietnam War, the Cold War and Desert Storm. In his role as navigator of B-52G bombers, Bob flew countless missions as part of the 441 Bomb Squadron during Vietnam. His contribution in the Strategic Air command mission in Southeast Asia was described as “immeasurable” as he demonstrated “outstanding professionalism, judgement, initiative and ingenuity” in the performance of his combat roles. While functioning at peak performance in his service duties he simultaneously completed his master’s degree at Indiana University, which was quickly followed by completion of Squadron Officer School by correspondence and then enrollment in Air Command and Staff College.
Over the course of his Air Force career Bob was recognized as a soldier-scholar. His tenure as an Assistant Professor at West Point in the Department of Social Sciences and as the department’s Equal Opportunity Officer (1975-1978) was marked by numerous publications and presentations of his work both within the military and the civilian academic community. Following West Point, Bob joined the 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron, in Upper Heyford, England. While functioning as the Wing Radar Systems Staff Officer and advisor to the Deputy Commander for Operations matters, he remained combat ready as both a Navigator and as a Weapons Systems Officer in F-111E fighter-bombers. Bob also went on to work with Allied Command Europe (ACE) and Strike (ASF) as the Wing/Base ACE Strike Executive Manager.

In 1984 Bob, under the Office of Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security, completed researching and writing The Politics of Paradox: The Controversy Surrounding Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces in Europe at the University of Illinois. It was this work which enabled the ultimately successful negotiation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1987. Bob considered this his single most important professional achievement. Returning to Europe after the completion of the text, he held a variety of posts, notably within the Joint Staff and attached to the Defense Logistics Agency as a Strategic Planner. Upon his retirement from the Air Force Bob took a position with UNISYS which continued to leverage his military experience, top-secret clearance level and academic training; he built battlefield command & control systems which ultimately became standard across theaters of operation and which remain in use today, albeit in updated form.

It was repeatedly stated in his military assessments that Lt. Col. Robert L. Blankmann was “a credit to himself, his country and his command”, but most importantly he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather. Sorely missed, the world was a better place with him in it.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project and the World Wildlife Fund.

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