Korean War Ace Boots Blesse Dies

A reader informed us that retired Maj. Gen. Frederick “Boots” Blesse, a top US fighter ace of the Korean War, recently died. According to the obituary posted at the Florida Memorial Funeral Home’s website, Blesse died on Oct. 31 in Melbourne, Fla., at age 91. Born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1921, Blesse graduated from West Point in June 1945, states his official Air Force biography. During the Korean War, he flew more than 220 combat missions in the F-51, F-80, and F-86. Between April 1952 and October 1952, he scored 10 confirmed aerial kills. Blesse later wrote the fighter tactics book No Guts, No Glory that served as a basis of fighter combat operations for many years in the Air Force and other air arms. He also flew numerous combat missions during the Vietnam War. Prior to his retirement in April 1975, Blesse was the Air Force’s deputy inspector general. Over his 30-year military career, he earned numerous military decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross. Blesse also authored Check Six: A Fighter Pilot Looks Back. (For more on Blesse, see Everything That Rises Must Get Down from Air Force Magazine’s 2007 archive.)