World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter forwarded to Will Lundy)
S/Sgt. Foster Blake received award from War Department
Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Blake have received the following communication from the War Department about their son, S/Sgt. Foster A. Blake, who was reported missing in action and later as killed in action.
The Adjutant General's Office
Washington, 25 D.C.
17 July 1944
Mr. Ernest Blake
My dear Mr. Blake:
I have the honor to inform you that by direction of the President, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters have been awarded to your son, Staff Sergeant Foster A. Blake, Air Corps. The Air Medal and Two Oak-Leaf Clusters have been awarded him while he was serving as Sergeant. The citations are as follows:
"For extraordinary achievement while serving as Gunner on twenty bombardment missions over enemy-occupied Continental Europe. Displaying great courage and skill, Sergeant Blake, fighting from his gun position, has destroyed one enemy airplane, warded off many enemy attacks and has materially aided in the success of each of his 20 missions. The courage, coolness and skill displayed by Sergeant Blake on all these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.
Air Medal and Three Oak Leaf Clusters
"For exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in five separate bomber combat missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe and for meritorious achievement in the destruction of one enemy airplane while serving as crewman on a bombardment mission over enemy occupied Continental Europe. The courage, coolness and skill displayed by these enlisted men on these occasions reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States.
In addition to the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the three Oak Leak Clusters Sergeant Blake was cited for outstanding performances on a bombing mission when bad weather made navigation difficult and hindered identification of ground features in the target area. Realizing the proximity of neutral territory, the Navigator cautioned his fellow crewmen to be on the alert for landmarks. Through a break in the clouds neutral territory was recognized and although bombing flares had already been dropped, a warning was flashed to other ships in this formation in sufficient time to prevent damage to a neutral country. This alertness, efficiency, and devotion to duty displayed by this entire crew is deserving of the highest commendation. No decoration accompanies this citation. (Most likely this occurred on 1 April 1944 when some planes bombed neutral Switzerland).
May I again express my deepest sympathy to you in your bereavement.
J. A. Ulio
The Adjutant General
Foster was born November 2, 1923 in Corinth where he lived with his parents and his four older brothers and two sisters. Later his family moved to Bradford where he attended school until during his senior year when he enlisted, February 20, 1942. His basic training was at Aberdeen, Maryland; eight week sin Aviation Ordnance. After a few days at home, he went to Langley Field, May 1, 1942.
He was in several camps in this country during that year: Pendleton Field, Oregon, where he was promoted to Corporal; Walla Walla airbase, Pocatello Army Air Base, Idaho, Wendover Field, Utah; Army Air Base, Pueblo, Colorado. In January 1943 he had a three-day leave and then went overseas in March, 1943.
Foster was training in Gunnery School and was in the 8th Army Air Force. At Christmas time that year, he was in a rest home for one week. On his return to action, he was awarded a Flyers Medal and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He took par tin such missions as Kiel and Bremen, and was reported missing on a mission to Burnberg on 121 April 1944 while performing his duty as nose turret gunner.
Foster was a quiet, friendly and self-effacing, but with a sense of humor and a happy disposition, which gained him many friends. We can ill afford to lose this type of young manhood from our towns, and the deep sympathy of all goes out to this family in their sorrow.