Military Wiki
Advertisement
Wayne K. Blickenstaff
Born June 25, 1920
Died December 23, 2011(2011-12-23) (aged 91)
Place of birth Pomona, California
Place of death Charlotte, North Carolina
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross (4)
Air Medal (8)

Wayne K. Blickenstaff (June 25, 1920 – December 23, 2011) was a highly decorated United States Army Air Forces lieutenant colonel. He was a flying ace credited with 10 aerial victories, including five in a single day, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II.

Early life

Wayne K. Blickenstaff was born on June 25, 1920 in Pomona, California. After graduating from Pomona High School, he attended Woodbury Business College in Los Angeles, California.[1]

World War II

Blickenstaff enlisted in the Army Air Forces on January 28, 1942. He subsequently earned his flying wings and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Lieutenant Blickenstaff was assigned to the 350th Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force at Royal Air Force Station Raydon, England. He would fly a total of 133 combat missions during the war.[2]

On December 1, 1943 he damaged an Me 109 over France. Promoted to captain the following April, Blickenstaff damaged another Me 109 and probably downed another over Germany on June 30, 1944. He was promoted to major in August.[2]

First victories

Major Blickenstaff finally scored his first official victory on November 27, 1944. Blickenstaff was leading his squadron to strafe an enemy supply depot in Germany. While near Brunswick, over 200 enemy planes attacked the American formations. Blickenstaff managed to shoot down four Fw 190s despite the cowling of his own P-51 Mustang being hit by enemy fire. Since some of the oil lines in his plane were hit, Blickenstaff was forced to land at Denain Airfield in Prouvy, France. For his actions that day, Major Blickenstaff was awarded the Silver Star.[2][3]

On February 22, 1945, Major Blickenstaff claimed his fifth victory of the war. While near Berlin, his squadron encountered four Me 262 jets. Blickenstaff and his flight dropped their extra fuel tanks in an effort to gain speed and chased one jet for about seven minutes. Unable to catch the jet and nearing Soviet lines, his flight broke off the chase. While returning, Blickenstaff spotted another Me 262 flying below him. Gaining speed in a dive, he was able to score numerous hits on the jet, forcing the pilot to bail out. With this victory, Blickenstaff distinguished himself as a flying ace, and one of the few American pilots credited with a jet kill.[2][4]

Ace in a day

Blickenstaff was promoted to lieutenant colonel on March 7, 1945. On March 24, Lieutenant Colonel Blickenstaff was leading his squadron on a patrol near Kassel, Germany when they encountered 30 enemy planes. Blickenstaff again distinguished himself, downing three Fw 190s and two Me 109s in a single combat mission. Another member of Blickenstaff's squadron also downed five enemy planes on that same action, Major Robert A. Elder. This was the only time in the history of Eighth Air Force when two pilots from the same unit destroyed five or more enemy aircraft in the same engagement.[5] The squadron downed a total of 29 German aircraft, losing five of their own. Blickenstaff was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions that day. These were his final victories of the war, bringing his total number to 10.[2][3][6]

Post-war

When the war ended, Blickenstaff was discharged from Army Air Forces as a lieutenant colonel. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Blickenstaff became an illustrator and fathered seven children with his wife before retiring in 1989. Wayne K. Blickenstaff died on December 23, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.[1]

References

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Advertisement