b. 15/02/1921 Lockport, Louisiana. d. 22/11/2007 Lafayette, Louisiana.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 31/01/1943 Solomon Islands.
DeBlanc enlisted in the Naval Reserve (USNR) as a seaman second class on 29 July 1941, and received flight training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base in New Orleans, for two weeks, before going to the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, to continue his training. His Naval enlistment was terminated under honorable conditions on 15 October, and he was appointed an Aviation Cadet, USNR, on the following day. DeBlanc was one of approximately 24,500 Cajun G.I.s to serve during World War II.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on 4 May 1942, DeBlanc moved to San Diego to join Headquarters Squadron, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. In July, he was assigned to the Advance Carrier Training Group, where he remained under instruction until 6 August.
He was placed in the new pilot's pool until, with less than 10 hours of flight time in the F4F Wildcat, he joined VMF-112, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in October. Two weeks later, he left for overseas and arrived at Guadalcanal on 2 November. On 13 November, Japanese Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers attempted to torpedo Allied ships and were intercepted by VMF-112, and in that action DeBlanc shot down three. He was promoted to first lieutenant on 19 December. On 29 January 1943, DeBlanc was forced to ditch out of his Wildcat and luckily landed in the wake of an American destroyer that was fleeing across Ironbottom Sound due to a Japanese air raid. He was rescued by the destroyer and returned to flight status immediately after.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Leader of a Section of Six Fighter Planes in Marine Fighting Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWELVE, during aerial operations against enemy Japanese forces off Kolombangara Island in the Solomons Group, 31 January 1943. Taking off with his section as escort for a strike force of dive bombers and torpedo planes ordered to attack Japanese surface vessels, First Lieutenant DeBlanc led his flight directly to the target area where, at 14,000 feet, our strike force encountered a large number Japanese Zeros protecting the enemy's surface craft. In company with the other fighters, First Lieutenant DeBlanc instantly engaged the hostile planes and aggressively countered their repeated attempts to drive off our bombers, persevering in his efforts to protect the diving planes and waging fierce combat until, picking up a call for assistance from the dive bombers under attack by enemy float planes at 1,000 feet, he broke off his engagement with the Zeros, plunged into the formation of float planes and disrupted the savage attack, enabling our dive bombers and torpedo planes to complete their runs on the Japanese surface disposition and to withdraw without further incident. Although his escort mission was fulfilled upon the safe retirement of the bombers, First Lieutenant DeBlanc courageously remained on the scene despite a rapidly diminishing fuel supply and, boldly challenging the enemy's superior number of float planes, fought a valiant battle against terrific odds, seizing the tactical advantage and striking repeatedly to destroy three of the hostile aircraft and to disperse the remainder. Prepared to maneuver his damaged plane back to base, he had climbed aloft and set his course when he discovered two Zeros closing in behind. Undaunted, he opened fire and blasted both Zeros from the sky in short, bitterly fought action which resulted in such hopeless damage to his plane that he was forced to bail out at a perilously low altitude atop the trees on enemy-held Kolombangara.
After returning to the U.S., DeBlanc continued his education — earning a B.S. degree in physics and math from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1947; an M.A. Education (physics) from Louisiana State University in 1951 and a second master's degree in Education (mathematics) in 1963; and earning a doctorate (Ed.D) in Education from McNeese State University in 1973.
DeBlanc was discharged from active duty on December 31, 1945. He returned to his home in St. Martinville, Louisiana, and was assigned to the 8th Marine Corps Reserve District, later serving as commander of Marine Air Reserve Group 18. DeBlanc retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel on July 1, 1972.
In the mid 1970s and 1980s, DeBlanc taught middle and high school Math and Physics at AFCENT International School (currently AFNORTH International School), Brunssum, The Netherlands.
In 2006, DeBlanc appeared on an episode of the The History Channel series Dogfights. In the episode, titled 'Guadalcanal', DeBlanc's "Ace in a day" action is depicted. The episode was the fourth episode of the first season of the series, which recreated historical air combat campaigns using modern computer graphics.
On the morning of Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007, Jefferson DeBlanc died in Lafayette, Louisiana, age 86, from complications due to pneumonia.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAINT MICHAELS CEMETERY, SAINT MARTINVILLE, LOUISIANA.