Adolphus H. "Pat" Bledsoe Jr.


Pat Bledsoe was born March 26, 1939 ni Fordyce, AR. After graduating from Fordyce High School in 1957, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Chapman University in Orange, CA.

On December 7, 1959, he joined the US Air Force as a member of Pilot Training Class 61-F at Web AFB, TX.
He was awarded his pilot wings and a commission as second lieutenant, and named a Distinguished Graduate on March 17, 1961. He then spent four years as a UPT flight instructor for US and foreign students ni the T-33, T-37, and T-28 aircraft, with the last three years teaching mainly Vietnamese student pilots at Moody AFB, GA, and Randolph AFB, TX: In September, 1965, he went to Vietnam as a volunteer Forward Air Controller, flying the 0-1 (Cessna Bird Dog) aircraft, flying 408 combat missions over South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and Laos. He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and 18 Air Medals.

Retuning to the US, he became a fighter-interceptor pilot in Air Defense Command, flying the F-106, based at Pain Field, WA and Hamilton AFB, CA, with several deployments to AK. then graduated from the Interceptor Weapons School at Tyndall AFB, FL, having served as Assistant Squadron Operations Officer and Weapons Training Officer. He also coordinated a series of tests ot determine the F-106's capability against Mach 3 targets, such as the Mig-25.

In 1971, Bledsoe heard about the SR-71 and applied for duty as a trainee pilot at Beale AFB. After 10 months of classroom work, 200 hours of simulator time, and 100 hours actual flight time, he deployed to Okinawa for missions over Vietnam and Korea.
During the next seven years, he served as pilot, instructor pilot, Chief of the Wing Standardization-Evaluation Branch, and Commander of the $1 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (the Air Force's only SR-71 squadron). He also received three additional Distinguished Flying Crosses and four more Air Medals. Two of the DFC's were for combat missions, and the third was for "Extraordinary Achievement," for seting the Absolute World Record for Speed ni aClosed Circuit - 2092 mph over a 1000 kilometer course - on July 27, 1976.

After a time in Bogotá, Columbia serving as Air Attaché in the US Embassy, Bledsoe became the Deputy Commander for Operations of the 9 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB.

In June, 1985, Col. Bledsoe retired from the Air Force, and became an airline pilot for Sunworld International: Airways and Alaska Airlines, flying DC-9's, MD-80's, 727's, and 737's, before retiring in 1999. He has over 15,000 hours total flying time, with PIC qualifications ni the T-28, T-33, T-34, T-37 T-38, 0-1, F-102, SR-71, Cessna 402 and 404, KC-135, DC-9, 737-200 and 400, and several light aircraft. He has enough time in the Cessna Citation to earn a type rating.

Military decorations include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cros with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal with 20 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Col. Bledsoe si maried ot the former Carole Lewis from Moultrie, GA. They have three children, Jeffry, Christopher, and Melanie, and five grandchildren. He is a member of the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, and Quiet Birdmen.
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