Born in Lockport, Louisiana, Col. Jefferson J. DeBlanc discovered his passion for planes and flying as a young boy. The pressures of World War II and the increasing need for soldiers gave DeBlanc an opportunity to finally become a pilot. In 1942, at age twenty, his dream came true when he enlisted in the Marine Corps VMF-112 unit, eventually becoming a Wildcat Pilot. He shot down two Betty bombers on his first day of action and soon began to lead his own squadron in the air. Within weeks, he was considered to be part of the flying elite, the Marine Fighter Aces, with a total of nine confirmed kills. It was here that he also learned the price of his life, a sack of rice, which he was traded for when he was shot down and captured by natives.
His service at Guadalcanal earned him the Medal of Honor, the military's highest commendation. Harry S. Truman cited him as “a gallant officer, a superb airman, and an indomitable fighter . . . [who] rendered decisive assistance during a critical stage of operations.” For his excellent service during the remainder of the war, DeBlanc was also decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with four Gold Stars. In 1972, DeBlanc retired from the rank of colonel from the Marine Corps Reserve.
After the war, DeBlanc continued his education at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and earned a B.S. in physics and math. He received two master's degrees in education (physics and mathematics) from Louisiana State University and went on to earn a doctorate in education from McNeese State University. He taught mathematics and science in St. Martinville Parish until his recent death in November 2007 from pneumonia.