Capt. Merle E. Blanchard


(F. Birtciel)

Capt. Merle E. Blanchard

338th FS - April 1943 - 09 August 1944

Assigned Aircraft

P-38 CL-  "Big Nick"

Mission History

Not Known

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
14 11 November 1943 Munster (Blue 2)
15 13 November 1943 Bremen (Blue 2)
16 25 November 1943 Sweep over Northern France (Blue 2)
17 26 November 1943 Bremen (Filled in as Spare - Landed at Bassinbourn at 12:40)
30 04 January 1944 Kiel (Returned early due to 'Right Fuel Pump Failure')
31 05 January 1944 Kiel ('Down at Stanton - Short of Gas')
38 30 January 1944 Brunswick (Returned early due to 'Supercharger' issues)
39 31 January 1944 Sweeps in Holland (Landed at RAF Sawbridgeworth - Gas shortage)
41 04 February 1944 Frankfurt (Returned early at 12:50 due to 'Right Engine failure)
43 06 February 1944 Dijon (Returned early at 10:15 due to 'Radio Out')
44 08 February 1944 Frankfurt (Returned early due to 'Wing tank syphoning')
52 25 February 1944 Augsburg (Returned early due to 'Right Governor Out - 1 Sortie')
59 08 March 1944 Berlin (Returned early at 13:20 due to 'Right Engine Rod' - No sortie)
86 29 April 1944 Berlin (Returned early with 'non-mechnical' issue - 2 Sorties)
98 22 May 1944 Kiel
147 11 June 1944 Railroad Targets
152 15 June 1944 Hanover (Returned early at 0750 due to 'Supercharger Failure')
164 25 June 1944 Bordeaux (Down at 0955 - Escort - 2 Hrs. 15mins. combat time)
175 06 July 1944 MEW Control
Air Scores
Destroyed
Probable  
Damaged
Ground Scores
Destroyed  
Damaged  
Score Detail 31 January 1944  Me-109 destroyed (air) Goch
22 May 1944  FW-190 destroyed (air) Neumunster
11 June 1944  Me-109 damaged (air) Beauvais
06 July 1944  Me-109 damaged (air) Laon
Notes Capt. Blanchard was born in Campbell, CA on 16th November 1919 to John Lee and Bessie Mae Blanchard.
Merle graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1938.  After leaving school he was employed by Lockheed at Burbank, CA, where he worked on the first flush-riveted P-38 fighter plane and fell in love with it.
He joined the Army Air Corp in January 1942 at Santa Maria, CA, and after receiving his basic training at Lemoore, CA, advanced to aviator cadet training in June 1942 at Williams Field, AZ. He received his wings in March, 1943, and was assigned to the 55th Fighter Group at McCord Field, WA, where he checked out in the P-38 with the 338th Fighter Squadron.

Entered service from Santa Cruz, California
ASN- O-740137
July 1943 - Granted 15 days leave
09 July 1943 - Belly landed P-38 F360 43-2038 at McChord Field, WA
20 August 1943 - On 338th FS Roster at McChord Field, WA
28 January 1944 - Awarded the Air Medal
31 January 1944 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
14 February 1944 - Awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
07 March 1944 - Awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
07 March 1944 - Awarded a 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
05 April 1944 - Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
19 April 1944 - Appointed Flight Commander, "B" Flight
08 June 1944 - Promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Captain
24 June 1944 - Temporary appointment to Squadron Assistant Operations Officer
22 July 1944 - Awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross
02 August 1944 - Relieved from temporary appointment to Squadron Assistant Operations Officer
09 August 1944 - Transferred out of the 338th Fighter Squadron
10 August 1944 - Assigned to the 496th Fighter Training Group

Merle Blanchard, 86, passed away at his home in Placerville, CA on 23rd October 2006.

Awards
Memories While in England, he met and married Phyllis Fabian in Shrewsbury in October 1944. They had two children, Roger and Carol. After returning to California, he sold real estate, worked for the Gilroy Dispatch for 10 years, and retired from the State of California after 20 years of service as an apprenticeship consultant.
   

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