Frederic Champlain – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

From contemporary press report:
A graveside service for Frederic Champlin, 76, a retired Air Force veteran of three wars who shot down 14 enemy planes, will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be announced.

The Buffalo-born fighter pilot and ace died March 7, 1995, in Northside Hospital in Atlanta after a long illness.

He graduated from Bennett High School in 1937 and had plans to one day become a dentist. He joined the 209th Coastal Artillery Reserve unit in Buffalo and was called to active duty before the nation’s entry into World War II. His unit was federalized after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Champlin later qualified for pilot training and soon was flying missions across the English Channel as a P-38 fighter pilot. He officially was credited with shooting down nine enemy aircraft in an aerial war that was to claim the lives of thousands of airmen before it ended. Unofficially, he was credited with 14 kills. He didn’t get official credit for the other 5 because his cameras weren’t working to document them.

After World War II, he returned to Buffalo. He attended Canisius College under the GI Bill and received a bachelor’s degree. He was planning to go to dental school when the U.S. and other members of the United Nations became involved in the Korean War. He returned to active duty and served in Korea. Instead of returning to Buffalo and going to dental school, he remained in the Air Force.

He served as a base commander in Vietnam. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after 30 years of active service.

In recent years, he had lived in North Carolina and Florida and was living in Marietta, Georgia, at the time of his death. Surviving are his wife, former Eileen Hanley, who was his high school sweetheart; a daughter, Virginia A. Rodgers of Singapore; a son, Frederic H. of the Florida Keys; a sister, Miriam Foley; a brother, Harry of Silver City, N.M.; 4 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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