Robert Blount Obituary (2021) – San Antonio, Texas
On October 21, 2021, eternal pilot Robert “Bob” Earl Blount took off on his last land flight to the heavenly skies at the age of 97 as he rested in his favorite chair at his home in San Antonio, TX. His fate would be written as a member of the “Greater Generation”.
Bob was born in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1923 to parents Ethel and Earl Blount. He graduated from Field Kindley Memorial High School, attended Coffeyville Community College, and then graduated from the University of Tulsa with studies in political science and history. He belonged to the Brotherhood of the Kappa Alpha Order and was a life member.
His lifelong love of flying began at the age of 18 and has never wavered. On October 10, 1942, Bob enlisted in the Navy and was then sent to the University of Ottawa for basic flight training, followed by primary flight training at Glenview Naval Air Force Base near Chicago.
Bob completed his pilot training at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, then graduated from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, with the designation of Naval Aviator. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and on May 17, 1944 he entered the Pacific Theater as a dive bomber pilot where he flew combat missions in the Central Pacific and the southwest Pacific. Subsequently, he was stationed in northern China for a year. He had shared with this writer that he had flown to all the Pacific Islands except one.
He has flown many military aircraft including SNJ (T-6), SBD Dive Bomber, SB2C Hell Diver, SBW Dive Bomber, F8F Bear Cat, L-19 Bird Dog, TBM-3 Torpedo Bomber C-45 Transport, the T-33, 34 and 28 and the A1E Skyraider. Bob enjoyed piloting the F4U and F4U-4 Corsair. Years later, while serving in the Army Reserve, Colonel Blount learned to fly the Dehaviland series of planes and the Huey series of helicopters.
While stationed in northern China on a date chosen to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, his luck and skills would save his life. A newspaper clipping reports that âOn December 8, 1945, he and 6 other planes took off early in the morning near Tienstsin for air cover and a show of force with most of the other northern Chinese marine planes in massive formation. Flying back to their base in Tsingtao (Quingdao) in the Shantung Peninsula, the pilots encountered a heavy snowstorm and six of the planes crashed into the mountains. As he was about to crash, he veered sharply and was caught in a downdraft that knocked out his gyro instruments. He yelled at his machine gunner to jump and an instant after opening his own parachute he heard the plane crash into the mountainside. His machine gunner was killed, as were 10 pilots and machine gunners in the other five planes. “Luckily, he landed safe and sound on a rock and then headed for a village where he spent the night. The next day he was handed over to the Chinese Communists and taken prisoner with another survivor. After 10 days in captivity,” his rescuers persuaded the Chinese Communists to accept a reward of $ 2 million in virtually worthless Japanese puppet currency for their safe rescue. “Apparently, this ploy worked and the two survivors were” watered and dined by the generals âthat evening.
In 1951, he resumed service in the Korean campaign where he carried out 115 combat missions. Upon his return to the United States, he was posted to Pensacola, Florida, as a flight instructor until he left service in June 1956. During his service in Korea, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and seven Air Medals for acts of heroism. His military service lasted 40 years and included the Navy, Marines and finally Army Reserves. As an army reservist, he graduated from Fort infantry school. Benning, Georgia; Command and General Staff College at Fort. Leavenworth, Ks. And was a Designated Logistician. Bob enjoyed serving our country as a military officer retiring on December 22, 1983 with the rank of Colonel in the Army Reserves. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding achievement and position of great responsibility.
Bob moved his family to San Antonio in 1956, where he worked for United Services Life Insurance Company for almost 20 years. In the 1970s, he bought the Agence Bruxelloise des Assurances, which was managed successfully until his retirement in the mid-1990s.
His love of flying spanned 79 active years totaling over 15,000 flying hours. As a civilian pilot, he has flown over 20 different airplanes, including the Funk, the Beechcraft Bonanza via Queen Aire, the Piper Cub via Navajo, and the Cessna 152 to 340. Over the past 20 years, Bob has regularly flew with his longtime friend Jack Calhoun and his wife. MichÃ¨le. On December 20, 2013, Bob received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the highest honor bestowed by the FAA. This award recognizes pilots who have âdemonstrated professionalism, skill and aviation expertise in maintaining safe operations for 50 years or moreâ.
He was predeceased by his parents, Ethel and Earl Blount, his older sister, Betty McDonald, his infant son, William R. Blount, and his former wife, Beverly Blount-Hemhill. He is survived by his former wife, Marion Bakke-Blount, his daughter Barbara Johnson (Bill) of San Antonio, TX, his son Robert A. Blount of Vail, CO, William E. Blount (Marsha) of Loveland, OH; grandchildren Lauren Schultz-Billa, Will Blount, Beverly Johnson, Jack Blount, great-granddaughter, Penny Billa and many nieces and nephews of the McDonald and Haddan clans.
He is remembered as a modest and humble man, not wanting to impress but rather to express. Bob was known to care for and help friends in need. In his retirement years, he attended the Petroleum Club where he enjoyed sharing Friday night happy hours with friends and hosting monthly Kappa Alpha lunches for his fellows in the fraternity. Many thanks to Martha from the Petroleum Club who always had a place for him for lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays. He often said he was grateful to have lived through these times and was lucky in all aspects of his life. Most of those who knew him will remember his favorite word, “Whatever”, which had a way of alleviating any heaviness of the moment. As a father, uncle, friend, he will be sorely missed.
Bob was a life member of the Caterpillar Club, the Marine Corps Aviation Association, and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. He was a member of Perfect Union Lodge No. 10 and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason. He was a life member of the Order of Daedalions and Stinson Flight # 2, Randolph AFB, TX. He was a member of the Order of the Alamo, the Petroleum Club, the Conservation Society of San Antonio, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and a descendant of Austin’s Old Three Hundred. In 2020 Bob received a Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Walsh Province Court of Honor of the Kappa Alpha Order. Most of all, he was proud to be an Imperial Turtle of the old and honorable Order of Turtles.
In lieu of flowers, the Blount family would be greatly honored by donating on their behalf to the Daedalian Foundation, PO Box 249, Universal City, TX 78148-0249, or any charity of your choice.
The service with full military honors is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Posted by Express-News on December 5, 2021.