Frederick Corbin Blesse

August 22, 1921October 31, 2012

Frederick Corbin "Boots" Blesse, 91, passed away on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in Melbourne, Florida. Boots proudly served in the United States Air Force for 30 years upon graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1945. He flew in two combat tours during the Korean War. During his second tour, he was credited with shooting down nine MiG-15s and one La-9. At the time of his return to the United States in October 1952, he was America's leading jet ace.

He was a member of the Air Training Command Fighter Gunnery Team in 1955. That year, his team won the Air Force Worldwide Fighter Gunnery Championship. During the 1955 gunnery competition, Boots, flying an F-86F aircraft, won all six trophies for individual performance, a feat never equaled. Following tours of duty in Korea, Boots wrote the fighter tactics book, "No Guts, No Glory". This book has been used as a basis of fighter combat operations for the Royal Air Force, the U. S. Marine Corps, Chinese Nationalist, Korean Air Force, and U.S. Air Force since 1955.

Awards and Decorations His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Cross; Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters; Legion of Meric with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters; Bronze Star with "V" device; Air Medal with 20 oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal; Purple Heart; and from the Republic of Vietnam, the Cross of Gallantry.

He was a command pilot with more than 6,500 flying hours, most of which have been in fighter aircraft including the P-40, P-47, P-51 Mustang, P-80, F-86, F-100, F-102, A-7, F-104, F-106, F-4, and F-111. At the time of his death, he had more than 650 hours combat flying and was the nation's sixth ranking jet ace.

Boots is survived by his wife, Betty; children, Kent Blesse, Melanie Blesse Fileppo, Angelie Blesse, and Chris Blesse; step-children, Bill Lynch, Eileen Husselbaugh, and Dan Lynch; brother, Jim Blesse; and sister, Joan Griffin.

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:30am at St. John the Evangelist. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in the memory of General Blesse to the Wounded Warrior Project (

Florida Memorial Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.


  • Memorial Service Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frederick Corbin Blesse

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Marie Bravo

November 4, 2013

Words cannot express our deepest sympathy for your great loss. We just found out about Boot's death. We feel very honored to have known you and Boots and cherish the time we had to spend with you both. Boots was a great man and a great hero. Sending you our love and sympathy, Marie and Frank Bravo

Joe Gorman

May 26, 2013

I met Gen. Blesse with my dad and my brother during one of the Reading Pa ww2 weekends. What an amazing man! All of us were former SAC guys, so he had fun with us to say the least. He signed my Autographed Eddie Rickenbacker book that was handed down to me from my grandfather. He said, "it's tough to sign this above Eddie's name" I told him "Gen you earned it, so I would be honored if you did." I also had "Bud" Anderson sign it also. Three great men from three different wars. I treasure this memory of him forever. The book suffered damge from being underwater during Hurricane Sandy, but the names didn't suffer much damage. God Bless you Gen. Blesse! A Real American Idol!

Lorraine Rutherford

March 23, 2013

Our Family just found out here in Frederick, Md where Boots was such an ispiration. A warm hearted, kind soul - I still have his book that he autographed for my young daughter at the time. Boots - may you rest in peace and "Check six"!

Tom Dunne

March 23, 2013

As a young man I lived across the street from General Blesse's stepmother, brother Jimmy and sister Joanie. They treated me as a son and I am forever grateful to them. I met Boots one day when he flew into Richmond in his F-86 and will always remember the respect with which this hero treated me, a still-wet-behind-the-ears high school student. Condolences and blessings on you all.
Tom Dunne, Gaithersburg, Maryland -

March 23, 2013

he touched all who came in contact with him and the world was a "better place because of..jim Gibson

Larry Baker

February 8, 2013

I met the General last year at the SOS show in Louisville and what a great guy,he was a hoot.

Allan Proksel

December 19, 2012

I meet Boots for the first time at the VAC airshow in 89. While talking I found out our paths had crossed before at Nellis AFB. I am honored to have met him and am sad to here of his passing, RIP General.

Thomas Starnes

December 18, 2012

May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.

Pat Hutchens

November 29, 2012

I first met the General in 2007 at the WWII Weekend in Reading, Pa. He hadn't been on the official guest list that year, so I didn't take anything for him to sign, but bought a couple pics and his book. He gladly gave me his address and told me to send the books I wanted signed! And, he also provided me with other 4th FW "Aces." Thanks to him, I corresponded with 5 other Aces.
My son, who was 13 at the time, had our picture taken with him, which I proudly display.
A true American Patriot and Gentleman. God Bless you and your family, Sir.

Bruce Mundie

November 18, 2012

America lost its best Airman. We need to give thanks for our past, present and future warriors that keep this Nation safe. Col Bruce Mundie (Fairfax VA)