Streamed live on April 25, 2024

Everett Ernest Blakely was a highly decorated B-17 pilot with the “Bloody Hundredth” Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force in Europe. In the Apple TV mini-series, “Masters of the Air“, is David Shields plays the role of Blakely.

Tonight, we have his two sons, David and Jim, to discuss what they think of the series and to tell us about their father’s service.

Blakely’s journey began with his early training in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he learned to fly using the Stearman PT13 biplane at Hancock Field in Santa Maria, California. His determination and skill led him to advanced fighter training, but destiny took a turn when he was assigned to the 3rd Bomber Command at MacDill Field in Tampa, Florida, in May 1942.

This marked the beginning of his transformation into a B-17 pilot, setting the stage for his pivotal role in the war. Assigned to various bomber groups during his training, Blakely eventually connected with the 100th Bomb Group on October 28, 1942, officially assigned at Walla Walla Army Air Base in Washington.

From there, he rose through the ranks, becoming not only a Command Pilot but also the group commander of the 418th Bombardment Squadron and Station Training Officer stationed at Thorpe Abbots Air Field in England. Blakely’s combat experiences were diverse and intense, participating in numerous missions with the 100th Bomb Group.

Notably, on August 17, 1943, during the historic two-pronged attack on Schweinfurt-Regensburg, he led the 100th Bomb Group as they penetrated deep into Germany. Despite facing over 300 Luftwaffe fighters, Blakely’s leadership ensured success in damaging crucial German installations. His heroism reached its peak during the mission to Bremen on October 8, 1943, marking his 18th mission.

Blakely’s plane, “Just A Snappin,” faced severe damage, losing two engines and nearly requiring a ditch in the North Sea. Miraculously, the crew, credited with shooting down nine Nazi fighters, crash-landed in England. Blakely’s bravery on this mission earned him the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for gallantry.

Post-war, Blakely continued to serve in various capacities within the Air Force, contributing to education, language training, and international collaborations. His illustrious career spanned 27 years, concluding with his retirement and subsequent move to San Luis Obispo, California.

Lt. Col. Everett Ernest Blakely passed away on September 21, 2004.

Thank you to Tobacco Free Adagio Health and UPMC for Life for sponsoring this event.