RIP, BOOTS BLESSE
Korean War Ace Laid to Rest
By Harold Hutchison
Korean War Ace Boots Blesse was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on 22 March. Blesse, who had ten kills during the Korean War, died on 31 October, 2012.
Blesse was a Distinguished Service Cross recipient, although the medal was not awarded until 1998 for actions taken on 8 September, 1952. Blesse was buried near his father, a brigadier general, in Arlington.
Blesse’s DSC citation reads: “"Leading a flight of four F-86s protecting fighter bombers from possible attack by enemy MIGs, Major Blesse positioned his flight for an attack on four sighted MIGs. Singling out one of the MiGs, Major Blesse followed it up into an overcast and broke out between layers of clouds. As the two aircraft emerged from the clouds, Major Blesse was still in position, so he closed and fired, causing the MIG to burst into flames and the pilot to eject himself. Major Blesse then sighted a lone MiG and positioned himself for another attack. The MIG began violent, evasive maneuvers, but through superior airmanship Major Blesse scored hits, causing the MiG to snap and spin. Major Blesse followed closely until the MiG recovered. He then scored hits with another long burst which caused the pilot to eject himself. Through his courage, keen flying ability and devotion to duty, Major Blesse reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces and the United States Air Force.”