2nd Lt Erwin R Bleckley
Published November 21, 2014
Erwin Bleckley, one of four airmen to receive the Medal of Honor during WWI, was commissioned a second lieutenant with the Field Artillery in the Kansas National Guard in July 1917. He was stationed in his hometown for awhile and later at Fort Sill, Okla., before going to France with the 130th Field Artillery in March 1918. In August he was transferred to the 50th Aero Squadron as an observer and was killed on a mission in France when he and his pilot were attempting to drop supplies to a battalion of the 77th Division, which was cut off by the enemy in the Argonne Forest.
His citation reads, in part: ". . . Having been subjected on the first trip to violent fire from the enemy, they attempted on the second trip to come still lower in order to get the packages more precisely on the designated spot. In the course of his mission the plane was brought down by enemy rifle and machine gun fire from the ground, resulting in fatal wounds to Lieutenant Bleckley, who died before he could be taken to a hospital . . . in attempting and performing this mission he showed the highest possible contempt of personal danger, devotion to duty, courage and valor."
The pilot of the plane, 2nd Lt. Harold E. Goettler also was killed instantly on this mission and he too received the Medal of Honor.
See the full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.
See more information at the National Museum of the US Air Force.