Within a week of each other, brothers Donovan and Joss Blatherwick graduated from college in two different states and and received their commissions in the military. Both were in ROTC while in college.
Both also have military experience. Donovan, the elder, served for two years in the Army Reserve. Joss is in the North Dakota Army National Guard.
The sons of Rob and Connie Blatherwick, Williston, formerly of Parshall and Bottineau, are carrying on a family tradition of serving in the military. Both Donovan and Joss grew up in Parshall and graduated from Bottineau High School.
Submitted Photo •
Donovan Blatherwick, second from left, is shown at his graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo., May 8, also when he was commissioned as a military officer. Also shown in the photo are his wife, Heidi, third from left, and his parents, Rob and Connie Blatherwick, of Williston.
Submitted Photo •
Joss Blatherwick is shown in this photo courtesy of UND Athletics.
"Donovan and Joss made their decisions independently to join the military, aside from having family members in the military. We're so proud of them," said their uncle, Scott Weltz, originally from Parshall. Weltz is retired from the Army and now is an attorney in Linden, N.C.
Weltz supplied information about his two nephews and their relatives from uncles and aunts to grandparents who have served in the military.
Donovan graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo., May 8, with a bachelor of arts degree in international affairs. He was commissioned as an officer through the University of Colorado ROTC program. He had received his airborne wings at Fort Benning, Ga., while a ROTC cadet.
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While in the Army Reserve for two years he learned Farsi, the primary language spoken today in Iran and Afghanistan. He graduated from Defense Language Institute Program in Persian/Farsi language and also received advanced Persian/Farsi language immersion at the University of Colorado. He and Heidi Koepke were married Aug. 8, 2009.
Donovan will go to Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Ga., After Army Ranger training, he will go to Italy to serve with the 173rd Brigade.
Joss graduated from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, May 15 with a bachelor of arts degree in history and was commissioned as an officer through UND's ROTC program May 15.
Both Donovan and Joss now have the rank of second lieutenant.
Joss was in the Simultaneous Membership Program. The program is offered to qualified full-time college students who are members of the Army National Guard or willing to join. Cadets serve in the Guard and attend ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) classes "simultaneously." They receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army after completing a bachelor's or graduate degree and the ROTC advanced course. Newly commissioned officers then serve in the Army National Guard or on active duty.
Joss also has graduated from the Fort Lee AIT water purification course and served a one-year combat tour in Iraq with the North Dakota Guard. He received an air assault badget at Fort Lewis, Wash., while a ROTC cadet.
Joss will go to Army Ordnance Officer Basic Course at Fort Lee, Va., and then to Fort Bragg to serve with the 82nd Sustainment Brigade.
A number of the brothers' family members have served in the military including:
-Their dad, Rob Blatherwick, who was in the Army for six years, including three and a half years in the Green Beret Special Forces in Vietnam. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross and other medals. The only other higher award than the Distinguished Service Cross is the Medal of Honor.
-Their paternal grandfather, the late Dr. Robert Blatherwick, a physician in Parshall for many years, served in World War II and was a prisoner of war.
-Their paternal grandmother, the late Annie Blatherwick, of Parshall, was a World War II veteran who served as an Army nurse.
-Their maternal grandfather, Clarence Weltz, a longtime superintendent of the Parshall school, was in the Army and served in Alaska. He and his wife, Rosalie, live in Van Hook.
-Their uncle, Scott Weltz, retired from the Army after nearly 22 1/2 years. He was a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. As a major, he was selected to become a military judge.
-Their aunt, Scott's wife, Debra, is an Army veteran. Currently, she has a civilian position as deputy division chief for Special Operations doctrine at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, N.C.
-Their uncle, Dave Lindee, Minot, is retired from the Air Force.