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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | April 14, 2010

April 14th is an important date in history. Abraham Lincoln was shot on this day in 1865. The Titanic struck an iceberg in 1912. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988.

As usual, I’ve decided to go with the lesser-known story.

April 14, 1918 – U.S. Fliers Enter First Dogfight On Western Front

Six days after being assigned for the first time to the western front, two American pilots from the U.S. First Aero Squadron engage in America’s first aerial dogfight with enemy aircraft. In a battle fought almost directly over the Allied Squadron Aerodome at Toul, France, U.S. fliers Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow succeeded in shooting down two German two-seaters. By the end of May, Campbell had shot down five enemy aircraft, making him the first American to qualify as a “flying ace” in World War I.

The First Aero Squadron, organized in 1914 after the outbreak of World War I, undertook its first combat mission on March 19, 1917, in support of the 7,000 U.S. troops that invaded Mexico to capture Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Despite numerous mechanical and navigational problems, the American fliers flew hundreds of scouting missions for U.S. Brigadier General John J. Pershing and gained important experience that would later be used over the battlefields of Europe in World War I.

And now, American pilots are generally considered the best on Earth.

Topics: HHH | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Randal Graves Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Why does he look like he’s REALLY enjoying his game of pocketball?

  2. piperfromtn Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks Wyatt for the WW1 story. Lesser known, but very important history; I’m glad you chose it. The ‘Hat in the Ring’ group was with Eddie Rickenbacker, WW1 ace.

    My grandfather was on the Mexican Border before going to France in 1917.

    He was in the Battle of Cantigny in May of 1918 Some of the first aerial photos of battle were taken of that particular battle, which was the first victory for the 1st Division in WW1. Grandpa was wounded and became a P.W.E. (prisoner of war escort) until the end of the war.

  3. Wyatt Earp Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Randal – Overseas with only gap-toothed British women. Can you blame him?

    Piper – That’s awesome! We thank him for his service.

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Piper – I meant the history is awesome, not his wounds, obviously.

  5. piperfromtn Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks, Wyatt. Turns out that George C. Marshall planned the Cantigny attack and Patton was a tanker in it and actor Walter Brennan happened to be there too!

  6. Buck Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for that, Wyatt. On behalf of all American fighter pilots, we salute you. :-)

  7. Wyatt Earp Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Piper – Patton. We could use someone like him in Afghanistan.

    Buck – Thank you for your service, sir. When I was in high school, I would have sold my parents into slavery for a chance to fly a Tomcat.

  8. Bob G. Says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    The Americans first flew the Neuport 17s…not a BAD plane, if you like the wings to shed their fabric in a dive, or come completely off in tight maneuvers.
    Thank God they eventually got the SPAD XIII.
    Richenbacher was our TOP ace w/ 26 kills.

    And too all our “zoomies” out there:
    Thanks, and “Keep ‘em Flying!”

    Good post.