News: Family affair: Minnesota Marine continues family tradition
Story by Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – Marines often refer to their fellow Marines as their brothers and sisters. For Cpl. Frank Blundetto, team leader, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, his actual brother and sisters are Marines.
Blundetto’s brother, Cpl. Dino Blundetto, is a crewman with 2nd Tank Battalion. His younger sister, 1st Lt. Mia Blundetto, is a combat air logistics officer stationed on Okinawa, Japan. His older sister, Capt. Mandy Featherstone, recently got out of the Marine Corps but worked at the Pentagon as an adjutant. To say the Marine Corps runs in this family is an understatement.
“My dad was a Naval Academy graduate, and both my sisters are Naval Academy graduates,” said Blundetto, from Apple Valley, Minn. “If you look at all of our jobs and ranks and how we went about it, we all joined the Marine Corps our own way.”
Blundetto’s father never pressured his children into the military, and Blundetto does not really remember when his father was active duty.
“My dad was a big influence, but he never pushed anything on us,” said Blundetto. “He supported all of us to do what we wanted.”
It turns out all of them wanted to do the same thing. They all became United States Marines.
The sisters went to the academy and earned their commission while the brothers opted for the enlisted path. Even with a combination of officers and enlisted Marines, there is no real teasing among the siblings.
“It is so hard for us to get together because we are all over the place, so we don’t dwell on work very much,” said Blundetto. “My brother deployed in 2011 with tanks, and my younger sister is working hard stationed in Okinawa. My older sister worked hard as a general’s aide at the Pentagon. We are all proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
When his fellow Marines find out about Blundetto’s family they all have the same reaction.
“When I first met him, I knew his brother was a Marine,” said Sgt. William Jaegli, Blundetto’s squad leader. “I was surprised when I found out his sisters were Marine officers as well.”
With the good natured rivalry between Marines, there is one question Blundetto’s peers want answered.
“They want to know what everyone’s rank is and what they do,” said Blundetto. “They usually just want to know who out ranks who.”
For some Marines, their journey starts when they swear into the military. For Blundetto, it almost seemed destined from birth.
“I was born in Guantanamo Bay when (my father) was stationed there,” said Blundetto. “My mom came to visit him while she was pregnant.”
Born on a military base, Blundetto works hard to be a good Marine and leader.
“He’s really reliable,” said Jaegli, from Houston. “I trust him to do anything I ask, and he’s done a great job out here in Afghanistan as a team leader.”
No one in Blundetto’s extended family is in the Marine Corps or even the military. It started with his father.
“(My father) is definitely the root of the whole Marine Corps thing,” said Blundetto. “I remember learning about the Marines from him when I was little. It really all started from him.”
Now, it is Blundetto’s turn to be deployed to Afghanistan. Like his brother before him, he finds himself in a country thousands of miles from home.
Blundetto is scheduled to return to his family this spring. His brother will finish his enlistment around the same time he redeploys, leaving only Blundetto and his younger sister still serving as active duty Marines. Regardless of who is active or not, their family is a Marine family through and through.
“My parents are extremely proud,” said Blundetto. “They love to tell people that all four of their children are Marines. I’m only a quarter of the story.”