Wednesday Funeral for Fmr Gordon County Deputy Killed in Afghanistan - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wednesday Funeral for Fmr Gordon County Deputy Killed in Afghanistan

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1st SGT John D. Blair in his Army uniform (lower left) with Gordon County Sheriff’s Personnel 1st SGT John D. Blair in his Army uniform (lower left) with Gordon County Sheriff’s Personnel
Funeral Services were held at Trinity Church in Gordon County. Funeral Services were held at Trinity Church in Gordon County.
Crowds gathered at Blair's funeral Wednesday. Crowds gathered at Blair's funeral Wednesday.

Updated: July 1, Wednesday 2:30 p.m.

GORDON COUNTY (WRCB) - A Calhoun, Georgia solider will be buried Wednesday afternoon with full military honors.

Services for First Sergeant John Blair were Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Trinity Church in Gordon County.

Blair was killed in Afghanistan last Saturday and worked in the sheriff's office for years before joining the Georgia National Guard.

Eyewitness News was at the funeral and will have a full report on Live at 5.

Updated: June 22, Tuesday 5 p.m.

GORDON COUNTY, Ga. (WRCB) --  The first thing you notice when you pull up to the Gordon County Sheriff's Department is the flag flies at half staff.  It's just one way deputies are remembering 1st Sgt John Blair.  He was killed in Afghanistan Saturday, and he profoundly changed this department.

"He made me be want to be the best that I could be, just being around him," Detective Shane Parrott told Eyewitness News.

The black patch across Parrott's badge was tough to put on, but now, he can't imagine taking it off.  It's proof his best friend is still with him.  The Georgia Guardsman was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle in Afghanistan.

Parrott continued, "There'll never be anybody else like him.  I'll never have any other friends like John Blair.  God made a special one when he made him."

The military echoed Parrot's statements, saying Blair's death spared many in his platoon.  His bravery is no surprise to those who worked alongside him for almost a decade.

"He was an officer's officer," explained Sheriff Mitch Ralston.  "He was a soldier at heart and he's going to be missed."

Parrott added, "That's how it is in law enforcement.  You know, it doesn't matter if you're from California or Georgia, we're brothers.  And it's the same way in the military.  John was both, so he was that much more precious to us.  We've really lost something."

1st Sgt. Blair's body made it back into the United States Monday.  It's now making its way from Dover, Delaware, to Gordon County, Georgia.  Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.  We're told it could be several more days before anything is determined. 

Stay with and Eyewitness News for the latest on this developing story.

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

GORDON COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- Here is the release from the Gordon County Sheriff's Department.

It is with great sadness & regrets that the Sheriff's Office received official notice from the Department of Defense that First Sergeant John D. Blair, age 38, of Gordon County, and was killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on June 20th. The Department of Defense has reported that Blair was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle near Mado Zayi. 

 John was a former deputy sheriff here in Gordon County, and was later attached to the local Drug Task Force as part of the Georgia Army National Guard's counter-drug operations for several years. John served as a full-time deputy sheriff from June, 1994 until August, 1998 when he left the Sheriff's Office to assume full time duties in the National Guard.

During his local service with the National Guard's counter-drug operations, John served as a reserve deputy sheriff from October, 2006 until December, 2008, when his National Guard unit was mobilized for duty in Afghanistan. He was an extraordinarily skilled operative, specializing in covert drug-enforcement surveillance.

During his time in the Sheriff's Office, John served as a jail officer, deputy sheriff, & sheriff's detective. He also served on the Office's honor guard, & SWAT team. His former superiors described him as an exemplary officer. He was officially commended on a number of occasions during his law enforcement service here. John remained very close friends with members of the Sheriff's Office, and officers communicated with him by telephone & e mail in the days & weeks preceding his death.

Sheriff's Office employees were shaken at the news of John's death. The flags at the Sheriff's Office complex are being flown at half-staff, and deputies are wearing black ‘mourning' bands over their badges in honor of Blair.

Sheriff Ralston said, "John was a patriot, a truly dedicated & excellent peace officer. He met our America's enemies bravely, and laid down his life in the service of his people, his community, and his Country which he loved so much. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten."

"Please keep John's family & friends in your thoughts and prayers."

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