Roy James Blakeley

436TH TFS, 6252ND TFW, 13TH AF
United States Air Force
10 December 1928 - 22 July 1965
Rotan, Texas
Panel 02E Line 042

13TH AF F-104C 436TH TFS
USAF Pilot

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Roy J Blakeley

The database page for Roy James Blakeley

12 Oct 2004

Roy "Blake" Blakeley was born in Wink, Texas and the family moved to Rotan, Texas, a community about 35 miles north of Sweetwater, Texas. He graduated from high school there and then attended and graduated from the University of Arkansas.

Growing up he always wanted to be a pilot. He was a devoted husband and father, he loved boating, camping and fishing. He loved flying and flew every chance he could get. He was tagged by his squadron mates as being a "time hog". He seldom turned down an opportunity to fly. As a gag gift, some of the pilots in his squadron made a large pencil out of a broomstick by cutting it about 12" long, pained it and sharpened it to look like a pencil and labeled it "Time Hog" for his long flying hours.

He was killed attempting to land his disabled F-104 at Chu Lai Air Field during an aerial operation on July 22, 1965. He is remembered on the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762

28 Sep 2005

Great thanks for Roy's service to his country, he gave all there was to give. It is great we now have the internet to post things of importance, and tributes to those who have given their all. God bless Roy and his family. A fellow flyer...

From a fellow American,
Dell Brooks

27 Jul 2006

I was on the runway at Chu Lai the day Captain Blakeley crashed.

He reported to the Chu Lai Tower that he had a "dead stick" and no oil pressure.

There was an ammunition dump on his approach.

He could not get the aircraft centered on the runway which ultimately caused his death.

He used power to ensure that he did not land short and hit the ammunition dump.

It is believed that he cut power (several of us heard the power coming off the aircraft) in order to avoid crashing into the Chu Lai tower area. As a result of the lack of power the aircraft's nose probe hit a sand dune and exploded.

This very brave man could have bailed out but instead stayed with the aircraft ensuring no friendly casualties. He has had my respect all of these years and while talking with friends about Vietnam heroes, he is at the top of my list.

From a ground observer the the incident,
Michael E. Holmes
Chu Lai 1965
Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50230

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Left, flight training, 1953; right, in Vietnam.

Captain Blakeley was flying F-104C tail number 56-0908 from Danang Air Base and is coded as a combat loss. Although the F-104 was designed as a supersonic superiority fighter, the F-104C was produced in response to a Tactical Air Command requirement for a supersonic tactical strike fighter. In addition to its internal Mk 61 20-mm rotary cannon the F-104C could carry up to 2000 pounds of conventional air-to-ground weapons on wing and fuselage hardpoints.

While Hobson's "Vietnam Air Losses" states that he

"was shot down during a close air support mission in Quang Tin Province south of Danang. Little else is known about the circumstances of his loss."
Joseph Baugher writes that
"Capt. Roy Blakely (sic) attempted to crash-land his battle-damaged F-104C at Chu Lai. Blakely (sic) successfully set his aircraft down gear-up, but died when his F-104 swerved off the runway into a sand dune."
The matter is resolved by the following letter:

831st Combat Support Group (TAC)
United States Air Force
George Air Force Base, California 92393
Office of the Commander

4 Aug 1965

Mrs. Violet M. Blakeley
1317 Shelton Street
Abilene, Texas

Dear Mrs. Blakeley

On 23 July 1965, I wrote giving what details were then available concerning the death of your son, Captain Roy J. Blakeley. I also stated that a second letter would be forwarded to you containing the results of our investigation into the accident.

Roy was a member of a flight of four aircraft deployed on a ground support mission against the Viet Cong. After making several low level passes, his aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. At this point, rather than leave his plane, your son attempted an emergency landing at Chu Lai Airfield. Regretfully, the damage to the aircraft was too great, and, in attempting to land, the plane left the runway and crashed. As you probably know, Captain Blakeley's exceptional valor and performance of duty has earned a posthumous nomination for the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Our investigation has been completed. We do not anticipate any further information. However, feel free to contact me if you need any further assistance.

Anthony Sgro
Lt Colonel, USAF

Captain Blakeley received both a Distinguished Flying Cross for his effort to save his damaged aircraft and a posthumous promotion to Major. He is buried in Rotan Cemetery, Rotan, Texas.

His son, Larry Blakeley, operates a personal memorial site for his father; the photos above and the letter were obtained from his site. However, be advised that many of the photos and documents on Mr. Blakeley's site require a special browser plug-in.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Oct 2004
Last updated 07/31/2006