Obit

Fighter Ace Blakeslee Dead at 90

Colonel Donald “Don” James Matthew Blakeslee, the first pilot to fly the long-range P51 Mustang fighter over Berlin and the most decorated World War Two US Army Air Force fighter pilot, has died aged 90. He flew more missions and spent more time in combat than any other USAAF airman. Unlike the British Spitfires, which had a range of 500 miles, the Mustang could travel 2,000 miles, nearly as far as the B24 Liberator bombers they were protecting. Blakeslee, born at Fairport Harbor, Ohio, was eager to become a fighter pilot so he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He shot down his first German plane over France in 1941, and went on to shoot 15 German aircraft in all. He once said, "There's nothing unusual in the missions. They all follow the same pattern. Either you get on Jerry's tail or he gets on yours." Although Blakeslee died in September, his daughter delayed the announcement of his death to respect her father's wishes.