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Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Blackmore's ideas led to meritorious service award

Friday, February 26, 2010

Marshall County High School graduate Clifford Blackmore is seated on a Humvee for this picture in Afghanistan. He's been awarded the Bronze Star for ideas on electronic warfare.
As a result of an idea and concepts on how to fight Afghan insurgents, a 1998 Marshall County High School graduate has been awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. Army.

Sgt. 1st Class Clifford Blackmore, son of Eric and Barbara Blackmore of Yell Road, Lewisburg, on Wednesday night explained what he did to receive the medal awarded for meritorious service.

While conducting counter insurgency campaign operations in eastern Afghanistan, the sergeant was usually working from a tactical operations center from which he communicated with aircraft crews to detect, monitor and disrupt insurgents' radio traffic.

Development of his concept enhanced such missions that included "exceptional jamming of insurgents' communications [that] led to the death or capture of five enemies," he said in a prepared statement.

Blackmore was an electronic warfare officer controlling airborne electronic attacks to deny, degrade and disrupt enemy communications. He conducted over 300 missions, successfully frustrating and disrupting anti-Afghan forces' communications and early warning networks.

The sergeant is trained to fly Predator drones, but his recent work is with manned aircraft. Their teamwork does "the same sort of thing" Russians did during the cold war when they were jamming Voice of America broadcasts. Blackmore's work, however, was more focused.

American military aircraft fly at altitudes that are low enough so "energy beams" don't dissipate, he said, likening that to a flashlight. The closer it is, the stronger the beam of light. Further away, a broader beam is weaker.

Blackmore received the medal about seven weeks ago, but didn't immediately tell his parents until the middle of a computer assisted phone call with a camera so his parents could see him, his wife, Carmen, and their children, Danielle, 5, and Bryson, 4.

"We were on the computer," Barbara Blackmore said of the Internet program Skype to see each other on the phone, "and we'd been on the call for 10-20 minutes and we were talking to the kids and he said 'Oh, by the way, look what I got.'"

The sergeant's mother, couldn't contain her pride: "Why didn't you tell us. That's a big deal."

That call was on Jan. 13 from his home at Ft. Drum in New York, but he considers Lewisburg his home. Clifford and Carmen have been married nearly 10 years. She's from Huntsville.

Barbara works at H&S Pharmacy No. 2. Clifford's father, Eric, works at GM in Spring Hill. They moved here 19 years ago.

Their son "is going to be training at Fort Rucker in Alabama to be a warrant officer and then he'll have specialized training in Fort Sill, Okla. to be a specialist in electronic warfare and they may have him teach electronic warfare," Eric Blackmore said.

He sergeant enjoys the work that he "kind of fell into ... over there," Eric Blackmore said."He filled in for someone who had to go back to the states, and it was right up his alley... He was a liaison with the Air Force."

Clifford "Cliff" Blackmore is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment (Task Force Chosin) of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N. Y.

Blackmore said he joined the Army about a year after graduating from MCHS. At first it was to earn money for college, but the longer he served, the more he liked it.

His work has been in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, while conducting counter insurgency campaign operations in eastern Afghanistan. His near-daily broadcasts were to separate peace-seeking Afghan people from the enemy, inform the enemy of peaceful alternatives to fighting coalition forces and Afghan security forces, and encourage the enemy to reconcile and defect.

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