Philipp R. Blaufuss, USAF, Ret
Lt Col
U. S. A. F.
Navigator-Bombardier, Strategic Air Command
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A native of Des Moines, Iowa Philipp was adopted. "My parents actually picked me up in April of '34 and brought me home. My mother told me about my adoption when I was about five or six years old," he recalls. His adoptive parents were Philipp W. and Idella Shellito Blaufuss. Young Philipp was an only child. The family soon moved to West Des Moines, where his father was a pharmacist. Philipp's grandfather was head carpenter for the state of Iowa and worked in the state capitol. "And he taught me all my carpentry skills and I still have his tools," he remarks. Philipp has a few memories of the Depression, such as "the hoboes coming through", although he recalls the buildup of West Des Moines as World War II began. A Women's Army Corps (WAC) training base and Camp Dodge were both nearby. "So we saw an awful lot of military people," he says. Meanwhile, he excelled in both music and sports in school, while filling spare hours building model airplanes. His father treated him to his first airplane ride when the boy was 13. "I fell in love with it immediately," he recalls. Upon graduating from Valley High School in 1952, Philipp attended Iowa State College in Ames where he studied engineering for a year and later enlisted as an aviation cadet. He began Navigation School in December of 1954 taking preflight training in Harlingen, Texas. Philipp graduated in 1956 as a second lieutenant and married a week later on March 10th to Anita Cozzens. (They would have two children, Lee Ann and Sheryl, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.) He was assigned to Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento to train for the B-47, then was stationed in Japan flying a B-29. He was based at Johnson Air Force Base near Yokota Air Force Base, about 40 miles outside of Tokyo. "The most gracious people," he remarks of the Japanese. Along with flying he worked as an "admin" officer, which helped him understand how an air base operated. After two years in Japan he entered B-52 training at Travis Air Force Base in California as part of the 23rd Bomb Squadron. There he remained from 1959 until 1966. He was sent to Kincheloe Air Force Base near Rudyard, Michigan where he was promoted to major then spent a year in U-Tapao Air Force Base in Thailand in operations plans for flights in the Vietnam War. He also flew at least once a month on bombing runs over strategic targets for the army. "About once every three or four months we would fly north of the DMZ--these are already super secret flights--and return. All the paperwork of course was burned immediately," he recalls. Returning from Thailand, he reported to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana, where he worked in reports and analysis. He was sent to Guam for 19 months, and eventually took part in the "Eleven-Day War" in December of 1972, in which the United States bombed Hanoi. His first targets were the bridges of the capital of North Vietnam. He flew five missions over Hanoi in which 140 aircraft were involved. "After I saw the photos of the destruction done by the B-52s, I didn't think that the North Vietnamese would ever recover from it. That's when I found out that this was all a political war. It had nothing to do with the military. It was strictly a political thing. My ideas of warfare changed completely after that," he remarks. He returned to Barksdale, where he was assigned to 8th Air Force Operations Plans. There he helped implement the policies of women in combat roles. He remained in 8th Air Force Operations from 1973 to 1978 when he retired. Meanwhile he earned a master's degree, and a teacher's certificate from Louisiana Tech University. He taught math at Booker T. Washington High School for three and a half years. Philipp developed an interest in computers and opened the first franchise of Dallas-based Compco Computers on Youree Drive in Shreveport. He also taught computer science in night school at Barksdale.