Erwin Russell Bleckley was born December 30, 1894, in Wichita, Kansas. On June 6, 1917, Bleckley enlisted in the Kansas National Guard and was eventually sent to France in 1918. While in France Bleckley attended and completed observer school in order to become an aerial observer and was attached to the 50th Aero Squad on August 14, 1918. On October 6, 1918, Bleckley and his partner were flying low over the trees in order to bring supplies to a battalion of American troops that had been cut off and were surrounded by German troops, their plane was shot down by enemy fire and both Bleckley and his partner were killed. Bleckley was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in December 1922, and was also awarded the Purple Heart. Bleckley is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.
Entry: Bleckley, Erwin
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.