Blanton, Clarence Finley, Lt Col

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1416-Operations Staff Officer
Last AFSC Group
Air Operations
Primary Unit
1967-1968, 1043rd Radar Evaluation Squadron
Service Years
1942 - 1968
Officer Collar Insignia
Lieutenant Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Blanton, Clarence Finley, Lt Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
El Reno, OK
Last Address
El Reno, OK

Casualty Date
Mar 11, 1968
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
El Reno Post Cemetery - El Reno, Oklahoma
Wall/Plot Coordinates
44E Line 013

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialAmerican Battle Monuments CommissionThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2012, American Battle Monuments Commission
  2020, The National Gold Star Family Registry

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Navigator Observer (Master)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)565th Bombardment Squadron, HeavyFormal Schools and Training Courses714th Bombardment Group, Heavy
Air Base Units325th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy3535th Navigator Training Wing (Staff)830th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
346th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy99th Bombardment Wing, Heavy4138th Strategic WingStrategic Air Command (SAC)
1st Combat Evaluation Group (Combat Skyspot)Radar Units
  1942-1942, USAAF Flying Training Command
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 565th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 2700 Student Navigator Course
  1945-1945, AAF MOS 142, 714th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1945-1945, AAF MOS 142, 237th Army Air Force Base Unit
  1948-1950, AAF MOS 142, 325th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1950-1951, 3535th Navigator Training Wing (Staff)
  1951-1957, AAF MOS 1038, 830th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1957-1957, 1521i, 346th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1958-1959, 1416, 99th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
  1960-1962, 1416, 4138th Strategic Wing
  1962-1964, 1416, SAC Flying Training Division, Strategic Air Command (SAC)
  1964-1967, 1416, 1st Combat Evaluation Group (Combat Skyspot)
  1967-1968, 1043rd Radar Evaluation Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1944 World War II/American Theater
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1967-1967 Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam Air Offensive Phase III Campaign (1968)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  B-50 Superfortress  B-47 Stratojet  B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)  
  1944-1945, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1953-1954, B-50 Superfortress
  1957-1957, B-47 Stratojet
  1957-1968, B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Operations Officer and Controller at Lima Site 85, a clandestine radar site in Northern Laos.

Special note: Lieutenant Colonel Blanton commanded the RBS function at 1st Combat Evaluation Group in 1966 when I was assigned to the maintenance and special projects division. We had many similar interests in conduct of training mission, both in ECM operations and RBS. He departed Barksdale for his special assignment about a month after I had gone to be NCOIC, Detachment 15, one of 1st Combat Evaluation Group's sites in Vietnam. Detachment 15 was attacked by a force in February,1968 when I was critically wounded and returned to the U.S. for medical attention and rehabilitation.

On March 11, 1968, North Vietnamese Army sappers overran the U.S. Tactical Air Control and Navigation (TACAN) site, also known as Lima Site 85, located on the summit of Phou Pha Mountain in Houa Phan Province, Laos. During the early morning attack, PAVN sappers scaled the mountain’s eastern slopes and initiated the assault on the American facility. Shortly after 8:00 AM, Air America helicopters, covered by USAF A-1 Skyraiders, attempted to evacuate the 19 personnel at the site. Only eight Americans were extracted, one of which died enroute to Udorn Air Base in Thailand. The engagement was the largest single ground combat loss of United States Air Force members during the Vietnam War. A total of 12 airmen were missing or killed in the fighting on Phou Pha; eleven were killed or missing on the ground, and one, CMS Richard L. Etchberger, was wounded after getting on the evacuation helicopter, bleeding to death during the flight. In addition, a USAF pilot, COL Donald E. Westbrook, was shot down in his A-1E Skyraider and killed while searching for survivors. By mid-day on March 11th, the USAF mission changed from recovery of the missing personnel to the bombing of Lima Site 85 to destroy any captured radar equipment.

The 95 strike sorties over six days may have had the effect of obliterating some of the bodies of U.S. personnel left behind at the site. The still unaccounted-for airmen of the 1043rd Radar Evaluation Squadron include MSGT James H. Calfee, SSGT James W. Davis, SSGT Henry G. Gish, TSGT Willis R. Hall, TSGT Melvin A. Holland, SSGT Herbert A. Kirk, SGT David S. Price, TSGT Donald K. Springsteadah, and SSGT Don F. Worley. TSGT Patrick L. Shannon’s remains were repatriated April 7, 2003, and positively identified on October 31, 2005. LTC Clarence F. Blanton’s remains were accounted for on July 26, 2012. COL Westbrook, the A-1E pilot, was repatriated September 3, 1998, and his remains were positively identified on February 14, 2007. CMS Etchberger, fatally wounded on the rescue aircraft, was awarded the Air Force Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on September 21, 2010. [Taken from,, and]

LT. Colonel Clarence Finley Blanton is listed as Casualty Number 23988 of the Vietnam War.
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