Resized DH4 on truck with honor guardThe World War I DH4 aircraft arriving at Wichita Airport is greeted by an honor guard from McConnell Air Force Base, and a saluting battery from the US Army's 130th Field Artillery Brigade in Wichita. The historic World War I DH-4 aircraft, identical in every way to the one Lt. Erwin Bleckley flew on his legendary flight that earned him the Medal of Honor, will serve as a living memorial to Wichita's greatest aviation hero. Photo courtesy of Grant Schumaker.

DH 4 on truckThe 50th Aero Squadron, DH-4 #6 aircraft is now in Wichita, Kansas where it will be restored to flying condition & stationed as it’s future home. This historic aircraft represents the US Air Service(USAS), 50th Aero Squadron based at Remicourt, France, where on Oct 6, 1918, Lts. Goettler , pilot & Bleckley, observer, were killed in their DH-4, #6, aircraft while on their 2nd mission of the day in attempting to locate the 308th Infantry Battalion, 77th Division, in the battle of the Meuse-Argonne.

Piece of World War I history returned to Wichita, honors airman

By Anna Auld
via the television station (KS) web site

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A piece of World War I history returned to Wichita Friday, May 28: an airplane that looks exactly like the plane Lt. Erwin Bleckley flew during his last mission during the First World War. The name “Bleckley” may sound familiar as Bleckley Street in Wichita is named for the airman who died on that final mission more than a century ago.

The plan with the plane, once it’s restored, is to have it displayed at Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport, available for thousands to see and to learn a little about the plane’s history and why it’s important to Wichita.

There was a ceremony Friday to honor Lt. Erwin Bleckley. He died at the age of 23 on Oct. 6, 1918 on a mission to drop supplies from the sky. he later received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

“This is a very big deal for the city of Wichita to bring this airplane home,” said Col. Phill Heseltine with McConnell Air Force Base.

Lt. Bleckley was born and raised in Wichita. He later joined the 130th Field Artillery. Many say he was the first volunteer for missions. The Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation spent thousands of hours researching and planning to bring the historic plane back to the exact specifications of the airplane Lt. Bleckley flew on his last mission. It’s on the only DH-4 plane left in the world.

Now it’s real to the people of Wichita,” said Grant Schumaker with the Bleckley Airport Memorial Foundation.

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