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Face of Defense: Weightlifter Excels in Iraq

By Army Sgt. Paul Evans
310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq, Sept. 6, 2011 – Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Corey Blankenship often spends his time here occupied with very weighty issues.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Corey Blankenship, a human resources specialist with 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, works on his bicep curls at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Aug. 30, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Blankenship, who hails from Corbin, Ky., is a weightlifter who motivates himself and others to stay in shape through his one-hour, twice-daily workouts.

“You’ve got to make it part of life where you stick to it … but you get lazy sometimes. I’ve always got someone to work out with me for motivation,” said Blankenship, who’s assigned to 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

Blankenship is a human resources specialist, and he’s known to lead by example both at his military workplace and in the gym.

“I like to consider Sgt. Blankenship as the backbone of the section. He brings the knowledge and leadership to the section when I can’t and keeps them active in their duties. He’d be tough to replace,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Terry Roark, Blankenship’s supervisor.

Altogether, Blankenship has some pretty good statistics to show for his exercise regime: he can bench press 455 pounds, bicep-curl a 225-pound-bar and squat about 500 pounds, just to highlight a few of his impressive feats. He also follows a strict, low-carbohydrate diet.

Besides spending two hours in the gym daily, Blankenship tries to include about 30 minutes of cardio work twice a week, either running or bike riding. He said consistency “is about the only way” for people to stay fit in top physical condition.

Blankenship, who’s married with a daughter, joined the Army in November 2006, he said, because he was bored with civilian jobs.

“I had a lot of friends in the Guard pulling me towards joining,” he said, “and the idea of getting college benefits was cool.”

Blankenship has held three jobs during his military service, to include infantryman, diesel generator mechanic and human resources specialist. He also attended schools for air assault and rappelling. This is his first deployment.

Stateside, Blankenship works full-time as the human resources NCO at Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 149th Infantry Regiment, in Barbourville, Ky. Blankenship also attends Columbia Southern University, where he’s working to earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources management.

Serving in the Army offers many rewards, Blankenship said.

“Aside from friends and camaraderie,” he said, “there’s always something new… whether it’s getting to travel, go overseas or attend interesting schools, the opportunity is always there to do something big.”

 

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