Maj. Gen. Frederick C. Blesse, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1945, flew two combat tours during the Korean War, completing 67 missions in F-51s, 35 missions in F-80s and 121 missions in F-86s. During the second tour in F-86s, he was officially 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.
General Blesse remained with fighter aircraft for practically his entire military career. During the 1955 Air Force Worldwide Gunnery Championship, he won all six trophies offered for individual performance, a feat never equaled. During the Vietnam Conflict, he served two tours in Southeast Asia; while on his first tour in 1967-1968, he flew 156 combat missions.
He retired from the USAF in 1975, with more than 6,500 flying hours in fighter-type aircraft and more than 650 hours combat time to his credit.