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COL Donald James Matthew Blakeslee

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COL Donald James Matthew Blakeslee

Birth
Fairport Harbor, Lake County, Ohio, USA
Death
3 Sep 2008 (aged 90)
Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
Burial
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot
Sec: 8-II ROW 17, Site: 1
Memorial ID
49123726 View Source

Link to his obituary from the New York Times
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The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Air Corps) Donald James Mathew Blakeslee (ASN: 0-885264), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 4th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces in the vicinity of Headin, France. Colonel Blakeslee, on 7 January 1944, after engaging a flight of six enemy aircraft intent on the destruction of crippled and straggling heavy bombers, observed ten to twelve FW-190's attacking unescorted bombers which were above him. Though attacked by three enemy aircraft from astern and flying into heavy and accurate fire which struck and damaged his aircraft, Colonel Blakeslee, disregarding damage, unfavorable altitude, obscured vision from spraying oil, and enemy superiority, climbed into the mass of enemy aircraft which he attacked and scattered, pursuing one of them through the haze to 2,000 feet, where he destroyed it before escape could be accomplished. Colonel Blakeslee's courage, aggressiveness, and will to destroy the enemy in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Air Corps) Donald James Mathew Blakeslee (ASN: 0-885264), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 4th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces during the period from 21 June 21 to 5 July 1944. During this period Colonel Blakeslee led a fighter escort in protection of bombers on the longest escort mission in fighter plane history, the first shuttle mission from England to Russia and return by way of Italy. On this unprecedented mission Colonel Blakeslee overcame the obstacles of poor navigational facilities, adverse weather, and enemy fighter opposition in such a manner that no bombers were lost while being escorted. While sweeping in front of the oncoming bombers on the mission over Budapest on 2 July 1944, he observed 50 enemy single-engine aircraft above him and about to attack the bombers. He immediately led his flight of four aircraft to attack, disregarding all odds and disadvantage of altitude. Joined later by his squadron's two other flights, the enemy attack was completely disrupted and ten of his aircraft destroyed- -Colonel Blakeslee personally destroying one of them. His courageous leadership and heroic action on these occasion reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

Link to his obituary from the New York Times
---------------------------
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Air Corps) Donald James Mathew Blakeslee (ASN: 0-885264), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 4th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces in the vicinity of Headin, France. Colonel Blakeslee, on 7 January 1944, after engaging a flight of six enemy aircraft intent on the destruction of crippled and straggling heavy bombers, observed ten to twelve FW-190's attacking unescorted bombers which were above him. Though attacked by three enemy aircraft from astern and flying into heavy and accurate fire which struck and damaged his aircraft, Colonel Blakeslee, disregarding damage, unfavorable altitude, obscured vision from spraying oil, and enemy superiority, climbed into the mass of enemy aircraft which he attacked and scattered, pursuing one of them through the haze to 2,000 feet, where he destroyed it before escape could be accomplished. Colonel Blakeslee's courage, aggressiveness, and will to destroy the enemy in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Air Corps) Donald James Mathew Blakeslee (ASN: 0-885264), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 4th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces during the period from 21 June 21 to 5 July 1944. During this period Colonel Blakeslee led a fighter escort in protection of bombers on the longest escort mission in fighter plane history, the first shuttle mission from England to Russia and return by way of Italy. On this unprecedented mission Colonel Blakeslee overcame the obstacles of poor navigational facilities, adverse weather, and enemy fighter opposition in such a manner that no bombers were lost while being escorted. While sweeping in front of the oncoming bombers on the mission over Budapest on 2 July 1944, he observed 50 enemy single-engine aircraft above him and about to attack the bombers. He immediately led his flight of four aircraft to attack, disregarding all odds and disadvantage of altitude. Joined later by his squadron's two other flights, the enemy attack was completely disrupted and ten of his aircraft destroyed- -Colonel Blakeslee personally destroying one of them. His courageous leadership and heroic action on these occasion reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

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COL US AIR FORCE


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