Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Mario Blandini, who served as a computer systems manager and engineer.
Wanting to prove himself to a strict Vietnam Veteran father, Mario Blandini joined the Marine Corps in November 1990. During Marine combat training, he developed lifelong friendships with fellow Marines, including with his future business partner.
Working in aviation logistics repair, Blandini spent most of his time working with computer systems. He repaired and maintained mainframes, terminals, PC servers and desktops, network printers and communications equipment. Although he spent a year of his service in Okinawa, Japan, Blandini spent most of his time in California, where he participated in Operation Kernel Blitz with the Marine Corps and the Navy. The operation is an exercise in amphibious assaults, in which the military attempts to make an assault on a hostile shore. Blandini discharged from the Marine Corps in 1996 with the rank of sergeant and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Blandini said the most valuable lesson he learned while in the Marine Corps was to volunteer for anything and everything to gain new experiences.
After leaving the military, Blandini took advantage of the GI Bill and attended the University of Phoenix. He graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of science in information technology. Using the skills he developed while in the Marine Corps, Blandini went on to work in the technology field for eight years. He then became a marketer for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Blandini has also been a guest lecturer, speaking on marketing, at universities, such as the University of North Texas and San Francisco State University.
Although Blandini discharged from the military in 1996, he actively supports other Veterans through the Marine Corps League. He has served as the public relations officer for California and for a local detachment in north Texas. Along with fellow Marine Veteran, Blandini launched Operation Comeback in May 2020 to give back to Veterans and to help start a chain reaction of good deeds. In fact, Blandini challenges everyone to do one good deed per day. Operation Comeback “gamifies good” through apps that transform good deeds into money for charity.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Ashli Lucio
Editor: Cassidy Reid
Fact checker: Vivian Hurney and Shiv Lamba
Graphic artist: Faith Kauhn