After spending the last six years at Fort Benning, SFC Jonathan Blanton, platoon sergeant for 1-509, requested to be stationed at Fort Polk.

He was ready for a slower, simpler life, and to be closer to home.

Born and raised in the small town of Glenfawn, Texas he was looking for something demanding yet exciting to do with his life and thought the Army was the answer.

Blanton chose to give up a full-ride scholarship to play golf and become a pharmacist and enlisted in the infantry straight out of high school in 2004.

On his first deployment to Iraq, he found much more than he bargained for. He was with 4-2 ID at Fort Lewis, WA when they were sent to Iraq in 2007 during the bloodiest part of the Iraq War. During his deployment, he earned the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) for fighting in active combat.

His second deployment to Iraq was with 4-1 AD at Fort Bliss, TX where he served on the personal security detail providing security for his commander and for his final deployment to Iraq was with 4-6 IN at Fort Bliss as well.

During this short tour, he was part of the final group to leave Iraq in 2011.

During his military career, Blanton has worked hard to achieve numerous awards and qualifications. He is Air Assault and Airborne qualified; a Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) Master Trainer; and he was a Drill Sergeant at Fort Benning for three years.

In addition to earning the CIB, Blanton has also received (1) Meritorious Service Medal, (4) Army Commendation Medals (ARCOM), (10) Army Achievement Medals (AAM), (4) Good Conduct Medals, (1) Iraqi Campaign Medals with three campaign stars and (2) Meritorious Unit Citations.

"I have six years left and I can retire. I am planning to retire here and make the Fort Polk area my home." Blanton said.