Blackburn, John Thomas, CAPT

 Service Photo   Service Details
27 kb
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1958-1959, 131X, USS Midway (CVA-41)
Service Years
1933 - 1962
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War
Order of the Golden Dragon
Neptune Subpoena
Panama Canal
Plank Owner
Safari To Suez

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

34 kb

Home State
District Of Columbia
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Blackburn, John Thomas, CAPT.

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Contact Info
Home Town
District of Columbia
Last Address
Jacksonville, Florida

Date of Passing
Jun 01, 1994
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Office of the Secretary of Defense US Navy Retired 20

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon

 Military Association Memberships
United States Naval Academy Alumni AssociationTailhook AssociationMilitary Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesUSS Bunker Hill CV-17 Association
USS Hornet AssociationMilitary Order of the World Wars (MOWW)USS Midway Veterans Association
  1933, United States Naval Academy Alumni Association - Assoc. Page
  1936, Tailhook Association
  1941, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States [Verified]
  1943, USS Bunker Hill CV-17 Association
  1944, USS Hornet Association [Verified]
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1958, USS Midway Veterans Association [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

John Thomas Blackburn,  81, decorated World War II fighter pilot and air squadron Commander, died of cancer March 21, 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida. The son and younger brother of Naval officers, he was born and grew up in the District.

He attended the old Western High School and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1933. In 1943, took command of fighter squadron VF-17, the first to fly an F-4U Corsair fighter plane in combat. Known as the Jolly Rogers, squadron was among the most famous of the war. Under his command, the squadron downed 155 Japanese airplanes in 76 days and produced 13 aces in the process. He himself shot down 13 enemy planes. He was awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his war service.

He served at Pentagon after the war and commanded the aircraft carrier Midway in 1958 and 1959. He retired from the Navy in 1962.

In 1989, he published "The Jolly Rogers," an account of his squadron's exploits during its campaign in the Solomon Islands.

His marriage to Rosalie Reed of the District ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Jane Brashears of Jacksonville; a daughter, a son, and 5 grandchildren. Services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

Other Comments:
To view award citations, click on the ribbons in the Ribbon Bar.
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings
Command at Sea
Command Ashore

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLAdvanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.NAS Miami, FLUS Navy
USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)VF-17 Jolly RogersUSS Hornet (CV-12)Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
Department of Defense (DOD)USS Midway (CVA-41)
  1935-1936, 139X, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1935-1936, 131X, Advanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.
  1936-1941, 131X, NAS Miami, FL
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Santee (CVE-29)
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
  1943-1944, 131X, VF-17 Jolly Rogers
  1943-1944, 131X, USS Hornet (CV-12)
  1944-1945, 131X, Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
  1946-1950, 131X, Department of Defense (DOD)
  1958-1959, 131X, USS Midway (CVA-41)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Algeria-French Morocco Campaign (1942)/Operation Torch
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Treasury-Bougainville Operation
  1943-1943 Treasury-Bougainville Operation/Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
  1943-1944 New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Arawe
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1929-1933, United States Naval Academy
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