BLACKWELL, CARL E., First Lieutenant, # 0-663470, USAAF

 

Carl E. Blackwell was born on 5 October 1921 in Lexington, Cleveland Co., Oklahoma, to Elisha Elight Blackwell (1900-1991) and Victoria Goldie “Vee” (Stewart) Blackwell (1900-1993).  Siblings included John James Blackwell (1923-1989), William Stewart Blackwell (1923-1990), and Ronald Eugene Blackwell (1933-2008). He graduated from high school in Lexington, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma University for two years. He was married to Arline H. (Hallowell) Ashley nee Blackwell (1920-2008) in 1942. Cleveland County named a lake recreational area after him, the “Lake Carl Blackwell – Family Recreational Area.”

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 6 January 1942 as an aviation cadet (service # 18084340). He completed flight instruction through advanced schools, was multi-engine rated, and flew the B-24 and the B-17. He earned his commission and pilot wings 6 September 1942 at Kelly Field, Texas. Early in 1944, he completed his training as a B-29 Superfortress pilot. He was sent overseas to India. On 27 November 1944, a B-29, # 42-24452, “Devil May Care,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Squadron, and fourteen othe B-29s departed the airfield at Chakulia, India, on a bombing mission over Bangkok, Thailand (aka Siam). Last radio contact was at about 0649Z 130 miles south of Chittagong, Burma. The B-29s were deployed from Chakulia Army Air Force Base to attack the Bangsue Marshalling Yards of Bangkok, Thailand. Weak enemy fighter opposition was encountered. One enemy Zeke attacked the formation from straight ahead, damaging four B-29s. Thirteen planes returned safely to Chakulia and one, aircraft #452, proceeded to Chittagong (Bangladesh) after losing #4 engine. Leaving the primary target, the pilot of aircraft #452, Lt Carl E. Blackwell, radioed the formation commander that he had wounded personnel aboard due to the fighter attack and that he could not close his bomb bay doors. Enroute back to Chakulia, he asked permission to proceed to Chittagong. The formation commander asked if there were any major mechanical difficulties or shortage of gasoline and was assured there were none, that #452 had plenty of gas and that no escort was needed. Permission was given and #452 left the formation. It was lost and never located. He is remembered on the memorial wall of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Oklahoma.