Bloomer Veterans' Hall of Honor
Nov 2, 2012
On Thursday October 11th the newly renovated Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor filled with members of the Emporia State University community to dedicate the space to its benefactor and namesake, retired Brigadier General William A. “Art” Bloomer ‘55.
Renovations include fresh paint and carpeting, as well as a number of exhibit cases to display some of the artifacts and memorabilia that exist in the Brigadier General William A. Art Bloomer Collection, held by ESU’s Special Collections and Archives.
Artifacts included Bloomer’s Marine Corp Service “C” uniform, flight suit, insignia, airplane and helicopter flight helmets, and flight bags.
Other featured items included General Bloomer's leather flight jacket, model planes, name tags, desk plates, medals, awards, tools, diplomas, photographs and correspondence.
A particularly poignant aspect of the exhibit is a letter Bloomer sent to his family while on duty in Vietnam in April 1975. At that time his squadron was aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway for Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. This letter, paired with a number of photographs he took of the event, relay his unique firsthand view of the historic evacuation.
General Bloomer attended Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia from 1951 to 1955. While in college in Emporia, Bloomer majored in mathematics and physics. He was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity, and was a varsity letterman in the K-Club for four years in both football and basketball.
Following graduation, Bloomer began a career with the Marines that would last 31 years. During that time, Bloomer became a pilot; he flew reconnaissance aircraft and served a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968/1969 that included 330 combat missions. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” and 17 air medals. In the later years of his Marine career Bloomer served as an assistant to two Secretaries of the Navy, and eventually retired as a Brigadier General.In 1985 Emporia State University Alumni Association named Bloomer a Distinguished Alumnus and was a featured speaker at ESU's 2009 Commencement.
Please stop by the Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor in the Memorial Union to see the display honoring General Bloomer, and if you are interested to learn more about this distinguished alumnus and the Brigadier General William A. Art Bloomer Collection be sure to contact the Special Collections and Archives, located in room 119 of White Library!