Sumter, S.C. — Retired Colonel James D."Gus" Blue, United States Air Force fighter pilot, age 86, beloved husband of the late Nancy Carolyn Blue, died on Sunday, July 13, 2014 at Tuomey Healthcare System.
Col. Blue was the son of the late John and Hazel Blue of Troy Ohio. He graduated from Troy High School in 1946. He attended Ohio State University for 2 years before entering the Air Force in 1948. He was commissioned as 2nd Lt. upon graduation from Officers Candidate School in 1950. He graduated from pilot training in 1952 and was assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing in Korea, where he flew 100 combat missions. From 1953 to 1965 he held various positions in fighter units in both overseas and stateside. In1965 he was selected to become an advisor to the Turkish Air Force to assist in the acceptance of the F-104s. In 1967 he was assigned to the Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon . In 1969 he volunteered for duty in Vietnam where he was assigned as Assistant Director of Operations of the 36th Fighter Wing. He flew 130 combat missions in the F-100. In 1970 he was promoted to Colonel and assigned to 9th Air Force Hq. In 1972 he was assigned to Tactical Air Force Hq. as Director of Command and Control. In 1971 he returned to 9th AF Hq. where he retired in 1975.
During his 27 year career, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star, 8 Air Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, and various service awards and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Col. Blue was a member of the Air Force Assoc., Military Officers Assoc. of America, and American Legion. He served as Vice Chairman of the Sumter County Republican Party and was a member of the Church of the Holy Cross, where he served as Senior Warden for many years.
During the 1990's he taught Algebra and Computer Science at Thomas Sumter
Academy and later at Wilson Hall School.
Surviving is one son: Mark Douglas Blue and his wife Cynthia of Wilmington, NC and two grandchildren, James Douglas Blue and Caitlin Elizabeth Blue.
He was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Nancy Carolyn Blue, his parents, John and Hazel Blue, his sister Betty Streeter, and his brother John Blue Jr.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Church of the Hoy Cross with Rev. Joel Osborne officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery with full military honors.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, July 17, 2014 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Bullock Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Church of the Holy Cross "Preservation Fund", 335 N. Kings Highway, Sumter, SC 29154.
You may sign the family's guest book at www.bullockfuneralhome.com
The family has chosen Bullock Funeral Home of Sumter for the arrangements.