LCpl Nicholas W.B. Bloem
20, of Belgrade, Mont.; assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Billings, Mont.; attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed Aug. 3 when his amphibious assault vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device while he was conducting combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. Also killed were Marine Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Bell Jr., Lance Cpl. Eric J. Bernholtz, Sgt. Bradley J. Harper, Sgt. Justin F. Hoffman, Cpl. David Kenneth J. Kreuter and Cpl. David S. Stewart.
Marine killed in Iraq explosion
Nicholas Bloem didn’t hide his future career goal. During his first conversation with his high-school sweetheart, he told her he wanted to be a Marine.
"It was definitely his calling in life. I don’t think he could have asked for a better way to die," said Kacie Ouano. Bloem, 20, of Belgrade, Mont., died Aug. 3 when his vehicle was hit by an explosive south of Haditha. He was based at Billings.
Bloem graduated high school in 2003, moving to Montana with his family from Bellevue, Wash., just before his senior year. He wanted to enroll at Montana State University in Bozeman.
His dream was to rise to the top of the command chain as an officer in the Marine Corps.
"It appealed to that part of him that wanted to overcome something that was seemingly insurmountable," said his father, Al Bloem.
His father said Bloem had been excited about joining the military and chose the Marines because "he wanted the hardest and he wanted the best." He joined in July 2003.
"I was proud and he was beaming from ear to ear," he said.
He also is survived by his mother, Debbie.