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Laurence Elroy Blumer

Military

Five German Luftwaffe airplanes during World War II were shot down in less than 15 minutes by one pilot who was born and raised in North Dakota. Because of this, Larry "Scrappy" Blumer earned the title Fastest Ace in the West. For his actions during World War II in the European Theater, Blumer received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, Air Medal with 22 Oak Leaf Clusters, Belgium Croix de Guerre, Presidential Unit Citation, WWII Victory Medal, European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon w/Air Offensive, Europe Star, Normandy Star, Northern France Star, Germany Star, 45 Cal Pistol Expert, 30 Cal Rifle Expert, 30 Cal M1 Carbine Expert, Thomson Sub Machine Expert, Order of the Winged Boot and a member of the Caterpillar Club.

  .            Laurence Elroy Blumer was born May 31, 1917, in Walcott to Paul and Geoline (Rockstad) Blumer. At the time, Paul Blumer operated a small produce store in Walcott, but moved a couple of years later to help at his fathers farm near Colfax. During most of the 1920s, the Blumers lived in Fargo, where Blumer attended elementary school, his father clerked at the Fairmont Creamery, and his mother worked at Midland Produce. In 1928, the family returned to Walcott for a year and then relocated in Kindred. He was an avid hunter and fisherman starting at a young age.
              In high school, Blumer excelled in track and basketball, helping Kindred advance to the state tournament in Class B division basketball. He stated "we didn't win but if you concider the size of gym we had to play in it's a miracle we even made it out of town". He also was known as an excellent woodworker and was in big demand for local carpentry and construction projects. He graduated from high school in 1936 and spent a couple of years working before enrolling at Concordia.
            In 1941, the U.S. entered World War II, and his father moved to Puyallup, Wash., to work in a munitions plant. Blumer went with the family to Washington and, while there, purchased a plane that he used to fly around the northwestern part of the state. On March 23, 1942, he enlisted with the Army Air Corps and, after basic training, was sent to the flight school at Luke Field, near Phoenix. Blumer received his wings on March 10, 1943, and was then stationed at the Marysville Cantonment (later named Camp Beale). A unit that trained at the Marysville Army Airfield, during the early stages of the war, was the 367th Fighter Group, and Blumer became a part of that group. One evening at Marysville, Blumer attended a party and ended up in a brawl with seven Marines. One of the people who witnessed the fight, where Blumer held his own despite facing a distinct disadvantage, was his commanding officer. The next morning, he was told to report to his C.O., and instead of a reprimand, he was given an apropos nickname, "Scrappy"
               The training for the 367th was intense as eight pilot trainees were killed when their planes crashed. By March of 1944 the group was on its way to Europe. The members of the 367th went to the British air field at Stoney Cross in England. When they arrived, most of the pilots were shocked to find out that they were assigned to fly twin-engine (P-38 Lightnings) instead of the single engine P-51 Mustangs on which they had been trained. This meant that all of the pilots needed to be retrained but once they bonded with the Lockheed P 38 Lightning they Loved them. They were extremely capable, versatile, tough aircraft. That were known by the enemy as the Forked Devil for their twin tail and devastating effectiveness in the hands of the right pilot.
            By early May, the pilots of the 367th were declared ready for combat in their P-38s. The group was divided into three squadrons: 392nd, 393rd, and 394th, with Capt. Blumer serving as flight leader of the 393rd. In recognition of his nickname, he named his plane ScrapIron. As it turned out it was the perfect name because often thats all that was left of his planes. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was designed as a fighter aircraft, but it also carried up to two 2000 -pound bombs and was often used on low level bombing runs. The 367th flew many close support missions for General Bradley, Hodges and Patton and action for the 367th was intense. During the first four months they were stationed in England, and Blumer lost three different airplanes during this time. Scrap Iron I was on a bombing run over France and took battle damage. He made it back to England, but the shots knocked out Blumer's landing gear, and the damage done by a belly-landing made the plane useless and beyond repair.
            When out on a mission in Scrap Iron II, Blumers hydraulic system went out. He made it back to England, and the plane was repaired. Another pilot used the airplane and was downed over Europe. Blumer was shot down over enemy territory in Scrap Iron III. This is Scrappy's account of that mission. "It was was 17 July 1944 and I was flying lead for the 393rd fighter squadron. We were headed for German occupied territory near Caen, France. It was a bombing run and our P 38's each had two 500 pounders underneath. The flak was ferocious, the Germans always seem to pick on the lead plane. We went after a target and when we flew over a hill there was nothing but tanks, half tracks and troops for as far as the eye could see. I was already committed and couldn't pull back on my attack. The other pilots were able to pull back but here I was attacking the 17th Panzer Division all by myself. I really took a hit. A bullet passed through the bottom of my plane, grazed my boot, passed between my arms, brushed my head and went through the canopy. My left wing badly damaged, then caught fire. This time I get it, I thought to myself, but my plane kept going. With alot of luck, I was able to finish the mission with the other 38's, but I was losing altitude fast and I knew old Scrapiron wasn't going to make it much further, and the crippled engine might blow any second. With smoke filling the cockpit I tried to open my canopy to bail out but it was stuck. I don't remember the next few seconds, only that cold air rushing past my face revived me and I realized I was out of the plane. The Germans weren't satisfied with only destroying Scrapiron III they wanted me, too, as I was hanging in my chute. I was getting machine gun fire from several directions and it was lucky for me I didn't have too far to go before hitting the ground. When I hit, I hit really hard. When I tried to get up I fell over, then I tried again and fell the other way. I was behind enemy lines , so I got rid of the chute as fast as my bad arm would allow, and started heading for what I thought would be Allied lines. At one point there was a row of machine gun fire in front of me and a row in back. What I didn't know at the time is the British saw me go down and when the Nazi's would try to get me they would fire a barrage to push them back. Here I thought all them bullets were for me and my nerves were really getting it. I was the best Christian you ever met at that point. I promised I would never shoot at another German but I did. This was about 4 in the afternoon, and I crawled sometimes inch by inch all that evening to about 0030. I then heard some troops say come out with your hands up. I said I sure hope your British or American and they said we're British. They poured me a canteen cup full of Brandy and I didn't miss a gulp. They were real helpful and drove me to a nearby British Air Base and from there I bummed a ride back to England." Blumer's remarkable description of his wild flight fails to mention what the official records say. Blumer completed his mission in a disabled and dangerous aircraft, but he still managed to lead his squadron to the target. After completing the bombing run, he headed the squadron toward home and saw they were in apparent safety before bailing out of his disabled airship.
             Another One of Blumer's many harrowing experiences took place on July 4, 1944, when he and his crew were attacking/bombing a communication station. Scrappy saw a moving train and then he and his crew swooped down to strafe it. He was lead plane and was trying to get the right angle to hit his target. A little too intent on his attack he bounced off the train into a telephone pole and tore off the outer 4 feet of his left wing and destroyed the left engine. Blumer miraculously stabilized his aircraft under heavy enemy fire. Lt Mason and Lt Doberolski right behind Scrappy thought they were going to hit the telephone poles too but as luck would have it Scrappy cleared the path for them and brought all the wire with him. Under heavy enemy fire Lt Doberolski got a whole blown through his tail but with some amazing flying ability they were able to nurse their battered airships back to England. When Scrappy got out of the plane, he saw that he had also brought with him 300-yards of communication lines that had become tangled in the lower portion of his airplane.            
                On 25 August 1944 pilots of the 367th were sent on a mission to bomb three German airfields in northern France which led to the greatest fighter versus fighter air battle of U.S. History. The battle was known as "The day the sky over I'Aisne was on fire". This is Scrappy perspective of that Incredible Battle. After the 393rd Squadron finished their mission, they regrouped and prepared to return to England. A distress call from the 394th came to Blumer stating that they were being pursued by 50 Germans FW-190s. The FW-190s were from Veteran Luftwaffe Unit JG6. Major Blumer's After Action Report reads as follows. "While leading the 393rd Fighter Squadron on a dive bombing mission in the vicinity of St Quentin, France on 25 August 1944, we dropped our bombs and heard casket leader call and say that Casket gang was being attacked by enemy fighters, about twent five (25) miles away. I called my squadron and told them we were going to engage the enemy. From about 10,000 feet, I saw a dog fight in progress. I peeled off with Lt. William Awtry on my Wing and went down, shooting down a FW 190 with a 40 degree deflection shot; the pilot bailed out, but his chute did not open. I climbed back up, then peeled off to my right and shot down another FW 190 with a 30 degree deflection shot; I saw the cowling and engine flaming furiously. After regaining altitude, I peeled off and went down on another enemy aircraft, driving right up his tail to within 20 yards, giving him a short burst; flames enveloped my whole plane, and the enemy aircraft blew up right in my face. Again I climbed up, and peeled off on still another FW 190, firing from about 100 yards with a 10 degree deflection; I saw parts fall of this plane, and he burst into smoke and flames. Once again I climbed and dove down on a fifth enemy aircraft and after shooting a 30 to 35 degree deflection burst, I saw strikes and noticed parts falling off the plane, it was smoking; I was later told by my wingman that he saw the pilot bail out."            
.               An article from 28 August 1944 from Army public Relations office of the E.T.O. gives another perspective on this amazing Aerial battle and reads as follows.    An Ace in fifteen minutes with all the thrills of a pulp story out of A street and Smith Magazine is the newest combat adventure from the battle areas of france. It surrounds the exploits of Captain Laurence "Scrappy" Blumer of Walcott North Dakota, a former farm boy turned pilot. Already widely known for his daring exploits back in the states when he used to buzz air fields and cause ground crews to duck their heads, Captain Blumer again added to his reputation as a pilot without a nervous system and with an x-ray pair of eyes by knocking out five Nazi fw-190's in a single afternoon's engagement over the skies of France. The entire group accounted for 20 of the enemies most formidable fighters. Leading his squadron of P-38's for the first time since he was promoted to the rank of Captain, Captain Blumer's "Blumer Boys" set out on a mission to dive bomb Nazi airfields in the vicinity of San Quentin, France. Reports had indicated that there might be a formation of Nazi in this area covering the withdrawal of the German troops from the Paris area. After releasing their bombs on the dispersal area and runways of the enemy airports, Captain Blumer's squadron reformed for the trip back home when they received a call on interplane radio that another squadron was being attacked by a formation of approximately 50 Nazi FW 190's. They had reformed by that time and were flying at 10,000 feet. Calling his men over interplane radio, Captain Blumer said "Okay, let's pour on the coal". The entire squadron then went after the Nazi's. When asked to give his account of what happened from there on, Captain Blumer referred to his wingman and said "Better ask Lt. William Awtrey he was my wingman and covering my plane. He saw the whole show. I was too excited to tell you what happened". The story as related by First Lieutenant William Awtrey, soft spoken South Carolinian was as follows: "When we received a call to come to their rescue we were about 10,000 feet and about 20 miles away". "Scrappy (Blumer) first came apon a Jerry's ship on the tail of one of our P-38's. He gave the Jerry's plane a burst and Jerry began to smoke and burn. The plane half rolled and the pilot bailed out. We then went up again to secure altitude and came apon Jerry alone and by himself. He was easy pickings for Scrappy. When he was hit he started to half roll and then spiraled down to the ground. It was like witnessing a movie." "We then climbed for altitude and Scrappy went into a steep dive again getting on the tail of another FW-190. As he plastered him with machine gun fire the plane just seemed to disintegrate in the air and fragments of the plane began flying off. We saw Captain Blumer go through the smoke and wreckage and wondered for awhile if he had crashed into him. That was the third plane." "By that time the Jerry's were confused. Ordinarily they cling together and stay in formation when they are attacked. Captain Blumer caught another Focke Wolfe, this time from complete astern. The pilot failed to bail out and I think that he was killed right in the cockpit." "By this time I was holding my breath. My mouth was dry and I couldn't keep my head still. I remember jerking my head around in every direction waiting for someone to jump Scrappy. As the Nazi's began to scatter looking for safety in flight Scrappy picked out the last remaining Jerry and dove on him like a Hawk. It was so fast I could hardly see it myself. He peppered him with bullets and the pilot went into a roll and later I saw him bail out." "When I look back on it now, it was like watching a movie. Sometimes I would really forget that I was up there myself. Planes were dropping out of the sky on all sides with fires burning on the ground." When Captain Blumer came back, he was drenched with perspiration from head to foot. Not a single bullet mark was made on his plane nor any of the squadron's, despite the terrific gunfire that took place. "It was a pilots holiday", said Captain Blumer. "It was the sort of a day a pilot dreams about and probably gets once in a lifetime." Captain Blumer is the son of Mr Paul William Blumer and Mrs Geoline Blumer of Walcott. He attended Kindred high school in Walcott. His interest in airplanes goes back to, his high school days when he used to watch mechanic's at work and fashion model planes himself. After the war he hopes to come back to Walcott and settle down to a less exciting life.
         The french book When the sky over I'Aisne was on fire by Jean Hallade documents the eye witness accounts on the ground to this huge Aerial battle. In his book eye witness accounts claim Scrappy shot down the 5 FW 190's in ten minutes. One of the Nazi planes shot down that day was a Nazi Ace Rudi Dassow. There have been plenty of speculation of Ace versus Ace and that Scrappy shot down Dassow and it may or may not have happened but is not confirmed. Either way an Amazing feat from a squadron leader coming to the aid of his fellow warriors with no regard  for himself. The end of Scrappy's Distinguished Service Cross Citation maybe sums it up best and reads as follows. By setting this Heroic example, he enabled his squadron, under his fearless leadership, to return from the mission with a score of nine FW 190's destroyed, one probably destroyed and two damaged, without any damage whatsoever being suffered by any plane in his squadron. Captain Blumer's conduct was an inspiration to every pilot under his leadership and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army Air forces.  
      On 19 November 1944 Blumer downed a seventh enemy airplane, becoming North Dakotas top ace and which he earned the Silver Star. His Silver Star Citation reads as follows. For gallantry in action while participating in Aerial flight in the European Theater of Operations on 19 November 1944. On that date, while leading his squadron on a fighter sweep in the vicinity of Duren, Germany, Captain Blumer encountered a superior number of hostile aircraft. Although adverse weather conditions and faulty performance of his airplane because of engine trouble rendered his attack extremely hazardous, Captain Blumer fearlessly led his formation into Combat with the enemy. By brilliant maneuvering, Captain Blumer forced one hostile aircraft to crash to the earth, and in the course of the running engagement he demonstrated outstanding leadership and Combat proficiency which was in large degree responsible for the successful destruction by his squadron of four additional enemy aircraft. His unusual courage and Extraordinary Aerial proficiency on this occasion are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army Air Forces.            
                After having flown 156 combat missions Scrappy's Heroics earned him a trip home, and his return was certainly befitting his reputation. Instead of renting or borrowing a car in Fargo to make the 25 mile trip to Kindred, Blumer had already decided on a different way to make the trip home. Flying into Hector Airport on a Army transport, he spotted a group of P- 63 King Cobra fighters sitting at one end of the field, awaiting ferrying to Russia. Blumer "requisitioned" one and was soon providing the townsfolk of Kindred a live demonstration of what a low level strafing attack was like! He started at one end of the half mile long Main street, hung on at tree top level, and buzzed the town, pulling up just in time to clear the school that was at the extreme east end of the street (the street dead ended right in front of the school). Towns people filled the street, and the teachers and students poured out of the school to watch the buzzing plane attack Kindred. For the first time ever Superintendent Kvikstad had lost control of his students to this impromptu air show!              
                 Major Laurence E. "Scrappy" Blumer fulfilled the boyhood dream of thousands of G.I.'s that day. The rest of us just fantiasized about coming back home after the war and buzzing our home town, but Scrappy actually did it! And thats the difference. It's what made him an Ace. Blumers little "mission" to Kindred took initiative, aggressiveness, flying ability, a sense of humor and alot of guts! And, oh yes, he broke a few rules and got in some hot water over the incident, too.            
                After the war, Blumer built a highly successful contracting business on the West Coast. But he must have really loved flying because he found an old P 38 and bought it from the Honduran Air Force in 1962, fully restored it to nearly mint condition, and had his trademark Scrap Iron IV and "Censored" nose art and squadron colors painted on the fuselage. He flew it at various air shows for 12 years, and for pleasure on the weekends. He also acquired and restored a couple of antique planes, a 1930 Waco Taperwing and an Adcox Student Prince.            
             Blumer later retired in Nevada and Oregon where he died on 23 October 1997. Scrappy was married four times. The last marriage was extremely hard on Scrappy and despite his best efforts led to a rough divorce that drained Scrappy in more ways than one. Scrappy was always the one leading from the front, and willing to give the shirt off his back to help anyone in need but life was starting to takes it's toll and he became less and less able. Being an extremely resourceful, industrious and hard working man he wasn't one to need assistance but with a diagnosis of Leukemia, old age and his battle injuries wearing him down he submitted a request to the Department of Veteran Affairs for compensation for his injuries. He was sent a letter stating that he was a non service connected veteran. Taking it like he took most things he just smiled and turned it into a punchline. From there on out while telling war stories he would always joke you know I'm a non service connected veteran and that with his medals and $.50 he could buy a cup of coffee. In 1995 Scrappy's health was deteriorating badly and his son left the Navy to care for him in his final days. In 1996 a year before he died Scrappy was reawarded his lost/stolden Medals in a televised ceremony by Representative Peter Defazio of Oregon. When asked by a reporter what thoughts he had about all his medals. He replied tearfully "I think of all my buddies we lost getting them." Scrappy succumbed to Leukemia on 23 October 1997. The next day the front page of the Eugene Register Guard read "War Hero Leaves Only Memories".            
               Major Laurence E. "Scrappy" Blumer is survived by one son Laurence BuckShot Blumer and four Grandchildren Ace Maxence, Brandie Angelique, Scarlett Katana and Dakota BuckShot Blumer. He is Missed Every Second of Every Day! May GODBLESS him and the Heroes of the 367th Fighter Group for their Incredible Sacrifices. The Scourge of the Luftwaffe.  

Service

Units served with

Aircraft

  • 44-23590 'Scrap Iron IV'

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 393FS, 367FG, 9AF. Personal aircraft of Capt Laurence E Blumer. Transferred to 326 Ferrying Squadron, 1 Transport Group, 9AF USAAF.

  • 42-104200 'The Gremlin'

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 393FS, 367FG, 9AF USAAF.

Associated Place

  • Ibsley

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1940-41 as a fighter base satellite for RAF Middle Wallop, Ibsley opened in 1941 when incomplete. It eventually had three concrete runways, 18 hardstandings plus 18 double pen dispersals, and two Bellman plus 12 blister hangars, after...

  • Leiston

    Military site : airfield
    Leiston's location only three miles from the North Sea Coast made it ideal as a Fighter Group air base whose job would be to escort bombers across the sea and over occupied Europe. The air base also witnessed the arrival of many very damaged Allied...

  • Stoney Cross

    Military site : airfield
    Planned as a secret, emergency airfield, Stoney Cross was developed during 1942-43 as an advance base for both fighters and bombers. Occupied by the RAF from January 1943, before construction was complete, the station had eventually three concrete...

  • Clastres Aerodrome

    Military site : airfield

  • Juvincourt

    Military site : airfield

  • Beuzeville

    Military site : airfield

  • Peray

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Born Walcott, ND 58077, USA 31 May 1917

Son of Paul William and Geoline Blumer.

Enlisted Seattle, WA, USA 23 March 1942
Based Leiston 18 March 1943 – 1944

Assigned to 364FS, 357FG, 8AF USAAF.

Transferred Stoney Cross, Lyndhurst SO43, UK 1944 – 15 January 1945

Transferred to 393FS, 367FG, 9AF USAAF.

Promotion Stoney Cross, Lyndhurst SO43, UK 1944

Promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Crashed Stoney Cross, Lyndhurst SO43, UK 3 May 1944

Crashed Belly Landing Stoney Cross/Sta 452 Cat 3 damage Capt Laurence E Blumer, 3-May-44.

P-38J 42-104200 - 393FS 367FG 9AF.

Ace in a day 02440 Clastres, France 25 August 1944

Five Fw190's destroyed 25-Aug-44. "Ace in a day".

E/A Destroyed Germany 19 November 1944

E/A destroyed 19-Nov-44. Germany.

Promotion Stoney Cross, Lyndhurst SO43, UK 1945

Promoted to Captain.

End Tour Duty (ETD) 15 January 1945

Completed Tour Duty (ETD).

Died Springfield, OR, USA 23 October 1997
Buried Puyallup, WA, USA 25 October 1997

Woodbine Cemetery
Puyallup
Washington

Enlisted
Enlisted

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 April 2019 21:16:00 BuckShot Changes to media associations
Sources

Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2019 18:35:26 BuckShot Changes to biography and events
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
19 February 2019 10:13:13 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2019 21:43:39 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2019 04:11:06 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2019 04:06:29 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
11 February 2019 01:52:08 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2019 19:56:15 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
06 February 2019 00:17:22 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
05 February 2019 04:45:33 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2019 21:14:07 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2019 20:19:07 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2019 09:30:12 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2019 08:30:13 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2019 07:26:47 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2019 22:07:17 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2019 21:53:11 BuckShot Changes to place associations
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Laurence BuckShot Blumer

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2019 17:46:26 BuckShot Changes to biography
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Laurence Blumer

Date Contributor Update
31 January 2019 17:39:46 BuckShot Changes to highest rank and biography
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Laurence Blumer

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2019 08:19:08 BuckShot Changes to events
Sources

Laurence Blumer Military Records

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2016 16:47:07 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd...
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbapi.asp?Pilot=Blumer%2C+Laurence
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrappy_Blumer
https://www.fold3.com/page/84987807_laurence_e%20blumer/details/
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=67853665

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2016 16:11:05 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd...
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbapi.asp?Pilot=Blumer%2C+Laurence
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrappy_Blumer
https://www.fold3.com/page/84987807_laurence_e%20blumer/details/
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=67853665

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:08 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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