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BlechleyBleckley Airport Memorial Foundation in Kansas has purchased a World War I DH-4 aircraft to to be restored to air worthy status as a flying memorial to to WWI Medal of Honor winner 2nd Lt. Erwin Bleckley (inset), after whom the airport is named. 

Flying tribute planned for Wichita WWI Medal of Honor hero 

By Gwyn Bevel
via the KSN television station (Wichita, KS) web site

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Throwing supplies to troops below while traveling 125 miles per hour in an open-air biplane, that was the mission in WWI.

It was the first of its kind in combat history, and a Wichita man was there.

Now, the Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation is on a mission to ensure a piece of history flies the skies of Wichita all to honor 2nd Lt. Erwin Bleckley.

Retired Lt. Col. Doug Jacobs started looking into Bleckley’s life when he realized how few people knew who he was.

“I started doing all this research, and now, he’s become part of my life,” Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation Member Doug Jacobs said.

“That’s the youngest picture that I have seen of Erwin,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs has been sharing Bleckley’s story for nearly three decades.

“My effort is to keep Erwin alive,” Jacobs said.

Bleckley, and his best friend Frank T. Priest, were the first to enlist in the F Battery of the Kansas National Guard when it was formed in Wichita.

“His history is part of Wichita’s fabric of history,” Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation Member Greg Zuercher said.

Jacobs read from Bleckley’s diary, ‘I received a cablegram from home, and comma father.’

Bleckley was documenting in his diary in France where he had already volunteered to fly.

“It has the half wing of the air observer,” Jacobs said.

The aviators job was to direct the pilot where to fly, they were attached to the 50th Aero Squadron.

“Erwin would direct him where to go,” Jacobs said.

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