This website is dedicated to all veterans and active duty of the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard helicopter groundcrew and aircrew, and the helicopters they flew and maintained.
Update: 29 Jan 23
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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Douglas Faust Blackledge, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)July 14, 1970 – February 06, 2016
Douglas Faust Blackledge was gifted with great charm, intellect, sense of humor and athletic ability. As an Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot operating under call sign “Drippy,” he was proud to serve his country as a true Combat Search and Rescue Warrior. He had retired from the Air Force on 1 Sept 2014 and was using his GI Bill to work toward a Master’s Degree in Finance.
Doug died at home in Melbourne, FL in January 2016 at age 45. He was born at the United States Air Force Academy Hospital on 14 July 1970, the first child of Lt. Col. Michael A. Blackledge, USAF, and Helen Margaret Faust of Silver City, NM. The family moved to Albuquerque in July 1979 where Doug attended Collet Park Elementary School and Grant Middle School, and graduated in the top 15 of his 1988 class at Manzano High School.
Doug entered the US Air Force Academy in July 1988 where he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and graduated with the Class of 1992. Along the way, he met Robin Guill, Class of 1991, who he married during his initial assignment to the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, OK. Doug and Robin were married for nearly 18 years.
Doug attended Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1995 at Vance AFB, OK, and then shifted over to rotary aircraft training at Ft. Rucker, AL. There he excelled, earning three of the five graduation honors, including the coveted Order of the Daedalians (described as “Best of the Best”), and used his skills in three flying assignments that included deployments to Kuwait, Republic of Korea, and the Philippines as well as his favorite job as an instructor pilot in the 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, NM. Doug spent 11 of his 22 years of service overseas including Okinawa, Japan and Germany. His final assignment was in astronaut rescue and recovery in support of the human space flight program within Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group, Patrick AFB, FL. Doug earned numerous awards and decorations during his Air Force career, to include the Air Medal and the Aerial Achievement Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters. In 2014, he retired from active duty and remained in Florida until his death.
Doug was predeceased by his mother Helen in March 2006. He will be greatly missed by his father Michael (Bonnie), brother David (Tricia), niece Charlene and nephew Ian, and numerous family and friends.
Doug will be interred with Military Funeral Honors at 11:15 am on Friday, 4 March 2016 at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. The family will host a Memorial Reception that afternoon at his childhood home in Albuquerque (contact: David@Blackledge.com). If one wanted to donate to a charity in his name, Doug would suggest the Special Operations Warriors Foundation (www.specialops.org), or the That Others May Live Foundation (www.thatothersmaylive.org).
A memorial web page is at mike.blackledge.com/Douglas.html
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28, 2016
~ GUEST BOOK ~
February 26, 2016I am sending you and your family my most sincere condolences on the loss of your son, Doug. I am very sad and share in your sorrow of losing him. He is at peace and out of harm’s way. Most sincerely.~Dixie Guill Golden, Marietta, GA
February 26, 2016Mike, I was saddened to learn of your loss. I wish I had met Doug and know that you were very proud of all his achievements.~David W. Blackledge, Carlisle, CT
February 26, 2016Dear Bonnie and Mike, Please accept our deep sorrow and prayers for the loss of your warrior son. Doug shall always be remembered for his social nature, and in this dark hour may his dearest and holiest friends turn to God with prayers in remembrance of this true Patriot. In His grip, Bill and Bonny Stilwell, Concord, North Carolina~Bill & Bonny Stilwell, Concord, NC
February 26, 2016I am sending my sincere condolences to your family. May you find comfort in this thought found at Isaiah 61:1,2 which reads in part “God sent his son to bind up the brokenhearted and to comfort those who mourn.”~Mary A, Dallas, TX
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