Pottawattamie County

Maj. John R. "Bob" Blaylock

Died 31 Dec 1943


Maj. Bob Blaylock Missing;
Fort Hit in Raid on France

News that Maj. John R. (Bob) Blaylock of Council Bluffs did not return with his squadron from a raid over France Dec. 31 has been received in a letter to Blaylock’s wife from his chaplain.

In the letter, the chaplain relayed reports of members of Blaylock’s squadron [510 Bomb Squadron], saying that after hitting the target and starting home, the Fortress ran into heavy flak which knocked out two of the four engines in the plane Blaylock piloted. Crews of the other planes reported Blaylock’s plane dropped out of formation and when last seen was losing altitude, with wheels lowered and apparently under control.

From the squadron’s report, the chaplain said he believed Blaylock had every chance to land safely.

Blaylock entered the air corps as a cadet shortly after his graduation from the University of Iowa in June, 1941, and received his wings the following February. He arrived in England in April, 1943, where he was stationed at a bomber base as a Fortress pilot and commander of his squadron. On Sept. 15, 1943, he was promoted to the rank of major.

Blaylock is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Blaylock, 724 Madison avenue. His wife lives in Milwaukee.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Tuesday, January 11, 1944, Page 8

Word Received From German Red Cross

Major Bob Blaylock, veteran AAF pilot who once had Clark Gable as a member of his crew on a raid over France, has been killed in action, according to a telegram received from the German Red Cross Thursday night by his wife, Shirley, in Milwaukee.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Blaylock, 677 Franklin avenue, Blaylock and his crew were reported missing after his squadron of Flying Fortresses raided France Dec. 31. Several members of the crew had since been reported prisoners of war.

The telegram contained no details.

Blaylock entered the army air corps in September, 1941, following his graduation from the University of Iowa at Iowa City. He received his wings in February, 1942, and was sent to England in April, 1943, where he was stationed at a bomber base as a Fortress pilot and commander of his squadron. He was promoted to a major Sept. 15, 1943.

Mrs. Blaylock and their daughter, Virginia Ann, seven months, live in Milwaukee.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Tuesday, April 28, 1944, Page 20


Perhaps it was because they all came at one time, on a single day, in fact, that Friday’s paper brought the war closer to us than at any time since the third battalion of the 168th suffered so heavily at Kaiserine pass.

But to us the announcement that Maj. Bob Blaylock, Lt. Leland Evers and Pvt. Francis Dale Bird had been killed in action was a shock which will be hard to overcome.

Three deaths from the war in a town the size of Council Bluffs and all announced on the same day really bring the war home.

The writer was not personally acquainted with either Lt. Evers or Pvt. Bird, but Bob Blaylock was a personal friend. He knew him as an idealist, who sought and earned his position in the army even before the war took us into the midst of the carnage.

He was typical of the young American, serious and thoughtful at times but near enough to the boy so that he was full of fun which comes with youth. He was a graduate of our state university, but he hadn’t learned to lose all his ideals and all of his good nature.

He had risen rapidly in the army and was liked by all his companions. To many of Council Bluffs people he was merely a name, and to the movie goer, his name was remembered because he once had Clark Gable in his crew.

But to those who knew him personally, he was far more than that; he was a living example of what clean living and clean fun can make of a good American boy, good soldier and a good friend.

As we said, we did not know Lt. Evers and Pvt. Bird, but from accounts we have heard of them, they were different only in branch of service and in rank. They too had fought for an ideal and they gave their lives for that ideal, not willingly, perhaps, for no one likes to die, but nevertheless faithful to their trust and to their training in the Americans spirit.

It is hard to lose such men as these, boys whom the city has watched grow into manhood, and whom we have held in such high hopes.

Our sympathy goes out to Mr. and Mrs. John F. Blaylock, to Albert Evers, and to Mrs. Mary Bird, the parents, and to Mrs. Bob Blaylock. They have suffered a tremendous loss, but we too feel that we have suffered a loss too.

And every time we hear of another of our boys gone in defense of the liberties in which they believed, it will be a personal loss, for one more future citizen has left us.

To all men and women who have suffered such losses in the past, and to those who will suffer them in the future, we offer our heartfelt sympathy.

We have all lost something precious when they die.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Wednesday, April 29, 1944, Page 4


Maj. John “Bob” Blaylock, missing since his squadron raided France Dec. 31, was killed, according to a telegram from the German Red Cross to his wife, Shirley. Maj. Blaylock once had Clark Gable in his crew.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Sunday, April 30, 1944, Page 3

20 Southwest Iowans on Carroll Victory

Bodies of 20 southwest Iowans, including five from Pottawattamie county, have been returned to the United States from Europe aboard the army transport Carroll Victory, the department of the army announced Wednesday.

Three of the county soldiers are from Council Bluffs. They are Maj. John Robert Blaylock, son of County Auditor John F. Blaylock; Cpl. Elmer Reynolds, son of Mrs. Alice P. Carroll, 1223 Twenty-first avenue; and 2nd Lt. James J. Friend, son of Mr. and Mrs. James O. Friend, 902 Avenue F.

Iowa U. Graduate.

Maj. Blaylock, an army air force pilot, was killed in action Dec. 31, 1943, when his squadron of Flying Fortress planes made a raid on France. He entered the air force in September, 1941, after graduation from the University of Iowa.

Surviving are his parents; his widow and a daughter in Milwaukee, Wis.; and a sister, Mrs. Dale Thompson of Arlington, Va. Maj. Blaylock will be buried in Arlington national cemetery.

[Portions of article regarding Cpl. Elmer Reynolds, 2nd Lt. James J. Friend, Tech 4 Jack L. Swanson and Tech 4 James M. Waters have been omitted but are included on their individual pages within this site.]

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Wednesday, October 06, 1948, Page 14