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Blair Mingle

 

Date and Place of Birth: February 14, 1897 Tyrone, PA
Date and Place of Death:    February 7, 1919 Pensacola, FL
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Second Base
Rank: Ensign
Military Unit: Naval Aviation Service, US Navy
Area Served: United States

David B. “Blair” Mingle, Jr., was born on February 14, 1897 in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. The only son of Mr. And Mrs. D. B. Mingle and a renowned athlete in the local area, Blair attended Tyrone High School, where he helped the team clinch the Blair County championship in 1913, before entering the Kiski School, an all-boys college prep boarding school in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania.

Continuing to excel on the baseball field at Kiski, Mingle later enrolled in the department of industrial engineering at Penn State University where he played baseball as a second baseman from 1916 to 1918, captaining the team his final year. He was also president of the College Athletic association.

In June 1918, Mingle left his academic studies for military service. He joined the fledgling Naval Aviation Service in the hopes of becoming a seaplane pilot. The 21-year-old traveled to Boston to begin preliminary instruction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After 10 weeks at MIT he had six weeks of flight training at Key West, Florida, followed by a week of night bombing training at Miami. A further seven weeks of instruction was taken at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. He was commissioned an ensign in December 1918 and remained at Pensacola as an instructor – a capacity he expected to remain in for six months before being able to return to Penn State to complete his studies.

On February 7, 1919, Mingle and two other naval ensigns – Ralph D. McCormick and Duane H. Rutledge – were flying a seaplane at NAS Pensacola. It had reached a height of 500 feet when it plunged into the bay, killing all three crew members. News of his death was received by his parents by telegram the same evening.

Mingle “was one of the town's most sterling young men, loved by all with whom he came in contact and his demise will be mourned by many,” declared the Altoona Tribune on February 8.

Ensign Blair’s remains returned to Tyrone on February 12, accompanied by his Naval roommate and good friend, Ensign W. G. Plumb. Funeral services took place at his parents’ home on Lincoln Avenue the following day, conducted by Reverend. A. S. Fasick, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, assisted by Reverend. R. J. Lloyd, pastor of the Birmingham Presbyterian Church.

Sources
Altoona Mirror 1919
Altoona Tribune 1919
Corsicana Daily Sun February 8, 1919
McKean Democrat February 20, 1919
New Castle News June 13, 1918
Tyrone Daily Herald 1914 to 1919

Photo Source: Penn State University, 1918 LaVie Yearbook (Thanks to Mark Haubenstein for locating this photo)

Date Added: May 6, 2012

 

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