COL CLAUDE CHRISTIAN BLANCH
February 13, 1935 ~ September 27, 2021
Claude passed away peacefully at his beautiful cabin-on-the-hill in Sutton, Alaska. He had mowed his amazing 2 acre lawn and then shortly after coming inside, he fell all the way down the stairs and experienced a stroke. It was very sudden. He still had a lot of plans for living. We are very grateful to his friends who found him the next day and got him life-flighted to the hospital. We were able to bring him home on hospice and have a blessed 2 weeks with him before he passed.
Claude was born to goodly parents, Leonard & Adelia Tracy Blanch, in West Weber, UT, in the small farmhouse on their dairy farm. He liked to say he was self-sufficient at 9 or 10 years old for all his needs except home and food. He raised chickens and grew tomatoes and earned his own spending money. At age 15 he won a 4H award in tractor maintenance and he attended the 4H Convention in Chicago, IL. He worked hard and played hard and had fun at all he did.
He attended Weber HS (class of 1953), where he played football, wrestled, threw the javelin, and was president of Future Farmers of America. After high school, he attended BYU on track and football scholarships and studied chemistry. He chose BYU specifically because they offered Air Force ROTC. He graduated BYU as a 2LT, then went on to advanced pilot training and graduated number one in his class. He later went on to earn his MBA at Auburn.
During his BYU years, he married Rosemary Holmes on August 12, 1955 in the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Together they raised seven children; six sons and one daughter. They now have 35 grandchildren and 57 great grandchildren with 2 more on the way.
Claude was a high integrity, patriotic American with an impressive United States Air Force career. He was an accomplished fighter pilot who completed 256 combat sorties, received 12 air medals, and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses (not awarded because they were top secret CIA events.)
Early in the morning of August 5, 1964, Claude was on 5 minute alert at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and was one of the first 3 planes ordered to enter Vietnam. In 1970-73, he was the United States Advisor to the Japan Air Self Defense Force. During that time, he was the lead military officer who, in 1971, reverted from USA to Japan, the Air, Land, Sea Defense of Okinawa to Japan. He was the lead fighter pilot to defend USA and Canada from attack by aircraft. His call sign was EAGLE01.
He served as the NORAD Director of Operations. In 1981, he (with 16 officers and 3 secretaries) personally wrote every word of the new Top Secret War Plan Air Defense of North America. After USA and Canadian national reviews, the plan came back approved without a word change. He and his team also created the Motto and Logo for Space Force (~1983).
As his last duty, he served as the USAF Europe, Assistant Director of Plans, with a staff of about 200 people. He was responsible for the program, budget and war plans for Defense of 15 NATO nations. The first Gulf War used these programs and plans. He retired in 1985 as a USAF Colonel. DV Code 7 National Honors.
Claude was always up for an adventure. He loved hunting, fishing, and especially skeet shooting. He won many championships in the Air Force Skeet Shooting tournaments during the 1960’s-70’s. He won the All Asia meet with 99/100. Later in life, he enjoyed competing at the Huntsman World Senior Games where he won medals in racquetball and javelin.
Claude was proud to be an American and proud to serve in defense of his country. He taught his children and grandchildren to be good and patriotic Americans. We are proud of him as our father.
He lived in Utah, Georgia, Oregon, Philippines, Texas, England, Japan, New York, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado, Germany, and finally Alaska. He spent the past 20 years living and working on his yard and view and creating a little piece of heaven in his beautiful Alaska.
Claude was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Adelia Tracy Blanch; 3 brothers, Harold, Dwayne, and Vern Blanch, and by Claude’s late wife, Rosemary Holmes Blanch McMullin; a grandchild, Seth Blanch; and 2 great-grandchildren, Naomi Cromar and Porter Neidholdt.
He is survived by 3 sisters, Barbara Stuart, Donene Briscoe, Marilyn Royce; one brother, Larry Blanch; all 7 of his children; Kent Jay Blanch (and Catherine Herrick [Blanch] McDaniel), MO, Christian C (Pamela White) Blanch, FL, Bruce Alan (Donna Little) Blanch, MO, Dale Ray (Connie Norman) Blanch, TX, Russell Earl (and Tracy Savio) Blanch, CO, Paul Edward (Melinda Baldwin) Blanch, UT, and Ann Marie Blanch (Donnlee) Watson, UT; 34 grandchildren, and 55 great-grandchildren.
Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, Oct 16, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Lindquist Syracuse Mortuary, 869 S 2000 W, Syracuse. Friends may meet with family Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. prior to the services at the mortuary.
A link will be on Claude's Memorial Page at www.lindquistmortuary.com prior to services which are being live-streamed. Claude will be laid to rest at a later date at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with full military honors.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.lindquistmortuary.com.