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Master Fighter Tactician: Frederick "Boots" Blesse

Maj. Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse in his F-86 during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse in his F-86 during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Iven C. Kincheloe Jr. and Frederick "Boots" Blesse exhibits in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Iven C. Kincheloe Jr. and Frederick "Boots" Blesse exhibits in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Frederick C. Blesse was one of the greatest aces of the Korean War era. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1945, flew two combat tours during the Korean War, completing 67 missions in F-51s, 35 missions in F-80s and 121 missions in F-86s. During his second tour in F-86s, he was officially credited with shooting down nine MiG-15s and one La-9. At the time of his return to the U.S. in October 1952, he was America's leading jet ace.

Blesse remained with fighter aircraft for practically his entire military career. During the 1955 Air Force Worldwide Gunnery Championship, he won all six trophies offered for individual performance, a feat never equaled since. During the Vietnam War, he served two tours in Southeast Asia; while on his first tour in 1967-1968, he flew 156 combat missions.

He retired from the USAF in 1975 as a major general, with more than 6,500 flying hours in fighter aircraft and more than 650 hours combat time to his credit.


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