2019 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
Dave Blankenship graduated from Webster High School in Tulsa and attended junior college at the Oklahoma Military Academy in 1952. He lettered in football, basketball and baseball and also served on the Drill Team. Making lifelong friendships remains one of his fondest memories while at OMA.
He attended the University of Tulsa and joined the Air Force ROTC graduating in 1955. He received his wings at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma and was sworn into duty as a Second Lieutenant. He served three years on active duty, and as a Captain he finished his commitment to the Air Force by serving in an Air Force Reserve Unit as a pilot at Davis Field in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
During the Cuban crisis, he was recalled to active duty until the crisis ended. In 1962, Blankenship began working with an aerospace industry (North American Aviation) when the company was moving to Tulsa. He was tapped to set up the office and hire personnel. He continued in executive positions as the company transitioned to Rockwell International and ultimately Boeing. He provided leadership in a variety of areas from hiring to training to public and government relations in the US and overseas.
In retirement, he continues his past connections to Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, where he currently serves as consultant to the CEO. He also serves on the board of Central Bank of Oklahoma.
Blankenship joined the Air Force Association and attended his first annual convention in 1967. The Air Force Association is a national organization promoting the U.S. Air Force and honoring Airman and Air Force heritage. He never missed the spring or fall meetings until 2017. He was elected to the board, elected President from 1982-83, and served as Chairman of the Board in 1984. He led the research and construction of the AFA Building in Virginia while President and dedicated it as Chairman.
He received the National Defense Service Medal in 1962, the National Management Association Leadership Award in 1967 and the Exceptional Service Medal, an honor by the Air Force for “inspirational leadership and dedicated support of strong defense through airpower.” He also is a member of the Webster High School Hall of Fame.