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created: 1 December 03
Air & Space Power Journal - Winter 2003
Dr. Bert Frandsen*
|Editorial Abstract: America’s inaugural multisquadron fighter unit—the 1st Pursuit Group of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF)—was created in May 1918. Only two months later, it fought in America’s first-ever air-land battle for the French village of Vaux. In the greater scheme of World War I, the AEF counterattack at Vaux stands as a minor action, but it is an important milestone in the history of American airpower. American forces advanced against the final German offensive of the war, proving they could conduct modern combined-arms warfare.|
*This article is adapted from the author’s book Hat in the Ring: The Birth of American Air Power in the Great War (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003).
On 28 June 1918, 52 Nieuport 28 pursuit planes landed near the village of Touquin, France. The aerodrome, only recently constructed by the French army, consisted of freshly cut wheat fields lined with canvas hangars. Located just 40 kilometers from Paris, it was part of an emergency defensive system being organized to contain a dangerous German breakthrough. The Nieuport 28s belonged to the 1st Pursuit Group of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), and in a few days it would fight in America’s first air-land battle.
Organized less than two months earlier, on 5 May 1918, the 1st Pursuit Group was America’s inaugural multisquadron fighter unit. The group quickly established air superiority against the undermanned and less well-equipped German fighter units that opposed it in the quiet Toul sector, its previous area of operations where the AEF was organizing a field army. The new base at Touquin, however, placed the group opposite the most deadly battle space on the western front. Here, the Germans had concentrated their best forces in a mighty offensive to win the Great War before American intervention tipped the scales in favor of the Western Allies.1
The latest phase of the German attack had achieved startling success against the French Sixth Army, creating a deep wedge in the French line with its nose at Château-Thierry. The arrival of German troops only 40 miles from Paris caused general panic and an urgent request from French general Henri Pétain for American reinforcements. In a race against time, these US forces had to be committed piecemeal to stem the German tide. Machine-gun units of the US 3d Division arrived first and helped the French defend the bridges across the Marne at Château-Thierry. A few miles farther east, the Marine brigade of the US 2d Division moved forward to replace French troops on the front line, resulting in the famous battle at Belleau Wood. Because the Germans fully exploited their command of the air, the Marines suffered 50 percent losses.2
A report by an observer from the headquarters of Gen John J. Pershing, the AEF commander, on the first day of the Belleau Wood battle stated that “the Boche [pejorative French term for Germans] have control of the air around the 2nd Div. Sector.”3 Over the next weeks, the situation in the air continued to deteriorate. An intelligence report of 15 June stated that the Germans maintained continuous aerial reconnaissance over the division’s forward area. Observers counted 57 airplanes flying over the sector, including several large patrols, and 15 enemy observation balloons in the air at one time observing the American sector. The excellence of the enemy’s observation capability translated into intensely accurate artillery fire against the leathernecks. The report also warned of the difficulty of predicting what the enemy would do next because German air superiority kept friendly aircraft from observing movements behind enemy lines. Reports of as many as 80 German flights in a single day over the division’s sector were not unusual.4 Obviously, the Allies needed friendly pursuit units.
By mid-June, in response to this intolerable situation, Col Walter S. Grant, a senior AEF observer with the 2d Division, sent a strongly worded recommendation to AEF headquarters in Chaumont: “I recommend that an observation and a pursuit squadron of aeroplanes be sent here to work with this division at [the] first opportunity. The Germans have control of the air and embarrass our movements and dispositions.”5
Col Billy Mitchell visited Headquarters Sixth Army in June to coordinate aerial reinforcements, reporting that he had “never seen a more stunned group of people. . . . They had lost miles of territory, thousands of men and hundreds of airplanes.”6 The 1st Pursuit Group replaced Sixth Army’s groupe de combat because “hostile aviation had shot the Allied defense right out of the air.”7 Mitchell calculated that the Americans would be “outnumbered in the air almost five to one.”8 The enemy arrayed against them included two elite units of the German air force—Jagdgeschwader (JG) (Fighter Wing) 1 and 3—which occupied bases directly opposite on the other side of the lines. The four squadrons of JG 3 were based at Coincy, about 15 kilometers north of Château-Thierry, while JG 1 occupied fields at Beugneux, another five kilometers further north (see map).
As Germany’s first fighter wing, JG 1—organized by Manfred von Richthofen in May 1917—was the enemy’s counterpart to the 1st Pursuit Group but clearly different in origin. Richthofen’s Flying Circus was an elite organization commanded by Germany’s top aces and staffed with specially selected pilots from a large pool of men with wartime experience. As historian Peter Kilduff has observed, “Numerous combat successes within a short time were key to remaining in JG 1.” Richthofen amassed 80 victories before he was brought down in April 1918, but his successor, Capt Wilhelm Reinhard, continued the policy of transferring out “nonproducers.” Shortly before the 1st Pursuit Group arrived in the Château-Thierry sector, Reinhard sent a report to his superiors indicating that the Germans had established air superiority: “Since the beginning of the planned assault the Frenchman has been very cautious, completely on the defensive, and only seldom crosses the lines. The individual French airman is very skilled technically, but avoids serious fighting.”10
Besides experience, the Germans possessed some important technological advantages. On the same day the 1st Pursuit Group arrived at Touquin, Ernst Udet, commander of one of the squadrons of JG 1 and Germany’s leading ace at this time, saved himself by parachuting out after his airplane had been hit. Although balloon observers on both sides had parachutes, the Allies never adopted them for their pilots. The Germans had recently begun equipping their pilots with parachutes, allowing them to bail out and, if they landed in friendly territory, return to fight another day. Udet came back with another technological advantage—a new BMW 185-horsepower Fokker D 7, which many historians argue was the best fighter of the war.11
American aerial units did not arrive in time to assist at Belleau Wood, but as the 1st Pursuit Group landed at Touquin, the 2d Division was making final preparations for an attack on the fortified village of Vaux. After securing Belleau Wood, the division shifted effort to the right side of its sector to seize Vaux. The plan, which called for attacking on 1 July, coordinated American pursuit and observation aviation in support of a ground battle for the first time.
This attack included several advantages not available to the valiant but unsupported marines at Belleau Wood. Reconnaissance flights conducted during June helped develop an accurate picture of the enemy situation at Vaux. The division attack order included a detailed map of the village, annotated with the location of enemy positions, barricades, and even the thickness of certain walls therein. The attack enjoyed the support of a schedule of artillery fires designed to suppress enemy machine-gun fire and, in certain cases, destroy observation points and strongpoints previously identified by aerial photographs. Observation airplanes and balloons would adjust artillery fire as the attack progressed, and infantry contact planes would help commanders stay apprised of the location of the forward line of troops.12
The plan required command of the air, the responsibility of Maj Bert Atkinson, commander of the 1st Pursuit Group. An insider—one of some 56 qualified aviators on duty with the Aviation Section of the US Army Signal Corps when the United States entered the war—Atkinson had served with Benjamin Foulois’s 1st Aero Squadron during the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. The bonds of camaraderie among these veterans of the desert southwest made them a powerful influence in the rapidly expanding American air arm. Now largely forgotten, Atkinson played a central role in the birth of American combat aviation. During the last six months, he had organized, equipped, and trained the Air Service’s first pursuit squadrons, forming them into a combat-experienced fighter group.13
Atkinson’s sense of determination and his single-minded focus on defeating the Germans were his greatest assets. But to his men, the quiet Georgian seemed humorless and severe. As Capt Philip Roosevelt, his operations officer, noted, “He has thrown his whole mind and heart across the barbed wire and there is very little on this side of the German trenches that interests him.”14 Fortunately for the command climate of the 1st Pursuit Group, the witty operations officer with twinkling eyes buffered Atkinson’s dourness.
A 1912 graduate of Harvard and cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt had been military editor of Aviation and Aeronautic Engineering (later known as Aviation Week) and one of the original members of Raynal Bolling’s 1st Aero Company of the New York National Guard. His poor eyesight kept him from qualifying as a military aviator, but as a military-aviation journalist, he had become about as well versed on the subject of aerial warfare as anyone in the United States (a strict policy of neutrality had restricted military-to-military contacts). Immediately after Congress declared war, the Signal Corps brass called Roosevelt to Washington to help plan the aviation mobilization. He impressed Foulois and accompanied him to France, where the latter took charge of the AEF’s Air Service. Foulois proved himself the perfect matchmaker when he assigned the talented Roosevelt to assist Atkinson.
Together for almost seven months now, Atkinson and Roosevelt made a great team because they complemented each other so well. Atkinson instilled his outfit with discipline—no small task, given that most of his pilots had been college students a year earlier. Obsessive about avoiding unnecessary casualties, he insisted on safety precautions that rankled his most aggressive squadron commanders. According to Roosevelt, Atkinson’s battle captain and the brains of the outfit, “We agree on all important subjects of tactics, organization, administration, and discipline.”15 The 1st Pursuit Group had established a winning tradition under their leadership, but the days ahead would present great challenges.
Atkinson and Roosevelt found themselves subject to a confusing command organization that resulted from the AEF’s inexperience in coalition warfare. Their orders required them to operate under the French Sixth Army, but two different American headquarters also wanted to tell them what to do. Mitchell, who had established his 1st Air Brigade headquarters nearby, thought that he was in charge. So did the 1st Corps chief of Air Service, Maj Ralph Royce, who came to the group headquarters “and said that as far as American orders were concerned we would take them from him and from no one else.”16 Royce’s assertion of authority reflected the Army’s tradition that the senior American headquarters supervised all American units in its area. Atkinson and Roosevelt steered tactfully through the conundrum of serving three different masters, Roosevelt explaining that “I had to spend a lot of time seeming to obey their orders while really making my own dispositions. . . . All our orders really came from the French—which he [Mitchell] approved.”17
To be fair, the US Army was still working out the nuances of command relationships between the pursuit and observation groups and the corps and armies they supported. That these units were committed to battle under a foreign army further complicated the matter. Mitchell had authority but little real responsibility because the pursuit group worked directly for the French Sixth Army and the corps observation group worked directly for the US 1st Corps, which had also arrived to reinforce Sixth Army. Nevertheless, Mitchell’s presence was important because it enabled him to organize a tactical headquarters, gain the measure of his men, and observe firsthand army-level air operations during the most intensive air fighting of the war. The Château-Thierry campaign served as his postgraduate education in aerial warfare.
On 30 June, Atkinson ordered his four squadrons to conduct familiarization flights of the new sector. He instructed his units to avoid combat except “in cases where there is an extremely good chance of a successful result.” These flights gave the pilots an opportunity to study the terrain, note landmarks on their maps, and reconnoiter routes to and from the front lines. Maj Harold Hartney, commander of the group’s 27th Aero Squadron, required his pilots to submit their maps to him that night, properly annotated, for his personal inspection.18
For the 1 July attack on Vaux, the group originally planned to fly two patrols over the Sixth Army front during the morning and then surge all of the group’s aircraft in three successive waves in the late afternoon to establish air superiority over Vaux during the attack. Early in the morning on 1 July, however, the group’s leaders changed the plan to ensure continuous coverage over the battle area throughout the day.19
The initial plan, though hastily conceived after the unit’s arrival at Touquin, demonstrates that the leaders of the 1st Pursuit Group understood the importance of concentrating their aircraft in large formations from the beginning to meet the enemy threat at Château-Thierry. Atkinson and Roosevelt changed the plan on the morning of the attack, after the dawn patrols had already launched. This adjustment suggests that the role of pursuit aviation in the battle was subject to close coordination. The group’s initial plan of covering the battle zone only during the attack was probably deemed unsatisfactory because ground commanders wanted to have air cover over the battle area throughout the day to protect the movement of a significant amount of short-range field artillery forward, out of concealed positions into the open, to support the attack. Friendly artillery planned to begin its program of preparatory fires 12 hours before the infantry assault, reaching a crescendo at H minus 60 minutes. The movements of friendly troops into attack positions during the day needed to be screened from enemy aerial observation to avoid targeting by enemy artillery. The 2d Division’s G-2 reported 20 enemy airplane flights over the division sector during the afternoon before the attack. The division also reported 13 enemy flights on the morning of the attack. Leaders of the 1st Pursuit Group scrambled to change their plan to stop these enemy incursions.20 Philip Roosevelt described the new concept of air operations for the attack on Vaux:
A very strict barrage of the sector of the attack was maintained throughout the day, and in the evening when the infantry went forward they found themselves perfectly covered by the allied planes. Briefly, the steps in the ladder included infantry liaison planes, corps artillery adjustment planes, and three formations of pursuit [planes] of a squadron each at approximately 2,500, 3,500, and 4,500 meters altitude respectively, the whole ladder, leaning as it were into the German lines so that the planes at 4,500 meters altitude were working from twelve to seventeen kilometers over enemy territory.21
Lt Elmer Haslett, an operations officer with the 1st Corps Observation Group who flew in the backseat of an observation plane during the attack on Vaux, remembered that “there was only one time at Château-Thierry when the Boche did not have the complete supremacy of the air. This was on July first at the Battle of Vaux. . . . We had every American pursuit and observation plane we could get off of the ground.” Apparently, most of the observation planes aloft were providing close-in protection to two key aircraft with special missions. Haslett continued, “There were not less than ninety-six planes in that formation—their mission being to protect the infantry [contact] plane and to protect [Maj Lewis H.] Brereton and me, who were doing the artillery work. There was such a swarm of planes above us that we practically never looked into the sky, but kept our attention entirely on the work before us.” According to Haslett, the air cover was so good that the attack on Vaux seemed like a training exercise.22
It did not seem like a training exercise to Lt Harold Tittman, a pilot who had recently joined the 94th Aero Squadron. Tittman was flying in the upper-left position of a V formation of six airplanes led by Jimmy Meissner that had taken off from Touquin at three in the afternoon and penetrated deep into German airspace. As they flew south from Soissons, their route took them close by the bases of JG 1 and 3. A group of seven German fighters, identified by Meissner as Fokker D-7s, attacked his patrol from the sun-drenched western skies, achieving complete surprise. “The first thing I knew about their presence,” Tittman recalled, “were the tracer-bullets passing in front of me. I remember seeing one of the German planes headed directly toward me and it came so close that I could even distinguish the pilot’s black moustache!”23
Anxious to get on the German’s tail and shoot him down, Tittman left his patrol—the worst thing he could have done, he later realized. Finding himself suddenly alone, he tried to make his way back toward friendly territory, but five enemy fighters jumped him. Tittman—shot through the right lung, right arm, and right foot—crash-landed, his airplane riddled with 200 bullet holes. His worst injuries, though, were caused by the crash itself, which he barely survived: he lost his left leg and spent the next 22 months in the hospital.
Lt Waldo Heinrichs of the 95th Aero Squadron was in the air for his second patrol that day as H hour approached. His patrol of six airplanes had taken off at half past four that afternoon, but because of “wretched leading” by his inexperienced flight leader, the formation had broken up and Heinrichs found himself in a patrol of only three airplanes. Even at this altitude, the artillery fire on Vaux—more than 11,000 feet below him—was so intense it threw clouds of smoke and dust up to the altitude of his patrol. He noted in his diary that it was “desperately dangerous as Boche came over in droves of 12, 18, and 20. In fact 50, in 3 formations crossed our lines before 8 a.m. this day.”24
American fighters did not encounter enemy aircraft at the lowest altitudes of pursuit coverage during the attack. Philip Roosevelt’s cousin Quentin, the youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and a member of the 95th Squadron, was airborne at the same time as Heinrichs but was flying 3,000 feet closer to the ground. “We were scheduled to fly on the low level, at twenty-five hundred meters,” he wrote home the next day, “to intercept any enemy photographers or réglage [artillery-adjusting] planes. There were two more patrols above us, one around four thousand and one up along the ceiling, keeping off their chasse planes. We didn’t run into any of their planes.” When Roosevelt returned to Touquin, he found out that the top flight had been engaged in a fight with nine Fokkers.25
To observers on the ground, it seemed that the friendly pursuit planes had swept the Germans from the sky. The operations officer of the 23d Infantry Regiment, which formed the left wing of the attack, reported that “liaison with airplanes was excellent. Our airplanes overwhelmed those of the enemy. [The] attack seems to have been [a] complete surprise.”26 The 3d Brigade commander, in charge of the attack on Vaux, reported that by half past seven that evening, his troops had secured the village. Complete reports of casualties were not yet in, but he believed the count to be about 200. The Allies had captured more than 600 Germans. “Before closing this brief report,” he concluded, “the undersigned cannot refrain from expressing the appreciation of all concerned . . . [for] the excellence of the artillery work, both in preparation and during and after the attack.”27
The 2d Division’s attack on Vaux exemplified the combined-arms approach that General Pershing wanted to see. He called the attack “a brilliantly executed operation.”28 Gen Hunter Liggett, commander of the US 1st Corps, called it “a very skillful piece of work.”29 The contrast between the battles of Vaux and Belleau Wood illustrates the connection between aerial superiority and ground combat. Aerial photographs provided valuable intelligence that served as the basis for attack plans. Observation aircraft adjusted artillery fire during the battle, including devastatingly accurate fires that prevented German reinforcements from interfering with the attack. Infantry contact planes helped ground commanders keep track of the progress of their troops, thus ensuring that friendly artillery did not accidentally kill them. Because of the 1st Pursuit Group’s control of the air, enemy aviation did not interfere with the 2d Division’s attack. German fighters did not shoot down friendly observation aircraft nor did enemy battle planes strafe American ground troops. Finally, enemy observation aircraft were not able to adjust hostile artillery fire on friendly troops.
The chief of Air Service of the French Sixth Army sent the 1st Pursuit Group written congratulations: “Yesterday’s attack was a complete success. The protection given by the 1st Pursuit Group, USA, was very good.”30 Atkinson and Roosevelt must have felt proud to receive such praise from their new headquarters. In a matter of days, they had moved to a new base, integrated themselves into the command structure of Sixth Army, established a new line of logistical support, coordinated their efforts with the 1st Corps Observation Group, and fought America’s first air-land battle. They had achieved command of the air against a numerically superior and more experienced opponent. In the greater scheme of things, the counterattack at Vaux stands as a minor action, but in the history of American airpower, it has become an important milestone. Moreover, the Americans advanced instead of retreated and proved that they could conduct modern combined-arms warfare.
The concentrated appearance of Nieuport 28s over the battle area at Vaux probably took the German air force by surprise. The enemy countered by bombing the 1st Pursuit Group’s airfield at midnight that same day. The 12 or so bombs that fell on and around the airfield did not cause any damage, but they signaled that the German air force was now fully aware that an American pursuit group had arrived to challenge it for control of the skies.31 As Harold Buckley, a pilot in the 95th Aero Squadron, forebodingly warned, “No longer would we hunt in pairs deep in the enemy lines, delighted if the patrol produced a single enemy to chase. Gone were the days when we could dive into the fray with only a careless glance at our rear. There was trouble ahead.”32
1. Philip J. Roosevelt, “The Air Service in the Château-Thierry Campaign,” pt. 1, “1st Pursuit Group Tactics,” in Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, series C, vol. 1, Microfilm Publication M990, RG120 (College Park, Md.: National Archives, 1917–1919), 1–2; Harold Buckley, Squadron 95 (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1933), 82; and diary of Joseph Houston Eastman, 30 June 1918, Joseph Houston Eastman Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California.
2. James G. Harbord, The American Army in France, 1917–1919 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1936), 285–93; and Edward M. Coffman, The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986), 215.
3. “Report on Conditions in 2d Division, A.E.F., by an Observer from G.H.Q., A.E.F., 6 June 1918,” in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, 1917–1919, vol. 4, Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, US Army, 1989), 359.
4. “Intelligence Report, G2 2d Division, 16 June 1918”; and “Intelligence Report, G2 2d Division, 23 June 1918,” both in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 493 and 533.
5. “Col. Walter S. Grant to [Col Fox] Connor, 15 June 1918,” in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 490.
6. William Mitchell, Memoirs of World War I: “From Start to Finish of Our Greatest War” (New York: Random House, 1960), 208.
7. Lucien H. Thayer, America’s First Eagles: The Official History of the U.S. Air Service, A.E.F. (1917–1918), ed. Donald Joseph McGee and Roger James Bender (San Jose, Calif.: R. James Bender Publishing, 1983), 158.
8. Mitchell, 219.
9. Peter Kilduff, The Red Baron Combat Wing: Jagdgeschwader Richthofen in Battle (London: Arms and Armour Press, 1997), 44–45, 60–61, 157.
10. Ibid., 69, 107–10, 194–216.
11. Ibid., 211.
12. “Second Division, Field Order 9, 30 June 1918,” in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 639–48.
13. Diary of Bert M. Atkinson, 1911–1915; and Emile Gauvreau, “Bert M. Atkinson, Lt. Col. Aviation, U.S. Army,” 5 December 1942, both in Atkinson Papers, Auburn University Archives, Auburn, Ala.
14. Philip J. Roosevelt to father, letter, subject: Bert M. Atkinson, 8 July 1918, Philip J. Roosevelt Papers, family collection of Philip J. Roosevelt II, Chappaqua, N.Y.
15. Philip J. Roosevelt to mother, letter, subject: Bert M. Atkinson, 19 December 1918, Philip J. Roosevelt Papers, family collection of Philip J. Roosevelt II, Chappaqua, N.Y.
16. Ibid.; and Philip J. Roosevelt to Walter Tufts Jr., letter, subject: Material for Harvard 1920 Classbook, Philip J. Roosevelt Papers.
17. Roosevelt letter, 8 July 1918.
18. “Operations Order No. 20, 1st Pursuit Group, 1 July 1918”; and “Operations Order No. 44, 27th Aero Squadron, 30 June 1918,” both in Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, series E, vol. 6.
19. “1st Pursuit Group, Operations Orders 21 and 22, 1 July 1918,” in Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, series E, vol. 6.
20. “Second Division, Field Order 9, 30 June 1918”; and “2d Division Intelligence Report, 1 July 1918,” both in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 661–62.
21. Roosevelt, “The Air Service in the Château-Thierry Campaign,” pt. 3, “1st Pursuit Group Administration,” in Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, series C, vol. 1, p. 3.
22. Elmer Haslett, Luck on the Wing: Thirteen Stories of a Sky Spy (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1920), 77–78.
23. Diary of James A. Meissner, 1 July 1918, in “[World War I] Diaries,” Lafayette Collection, Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Denver, Colo.; and Harold H. Tittman, “Memories,” file no. 167.60011, 25–26, US Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell AFB, Ala.
24. Diary of Waldo Heinrichs, 1 July 1918, in First to the Front: The Aerial Adventures of 1st Lt. Waldo Heinrichs and the 95th Aero Squadron, 1917–1918, ed. Charles Woolley (Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Military History, 1999).
25. Quentin Roosevelt to father, letter, subject: Attack on Vaux, 2 July 1918, in Quentin Roosevelt: A Sketch with Letters, ed. Kermit Roosevelt (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921), 155–56.
26. “Plans and Training Officer, 23d U.S. Infantry, to B-1 C.O., 23d U.S. Infantry,” in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 665–66.
27. “Commanding General, 3d Brigade, to Commanding General, 2d Division, 2 July 1918,” in Center of Military History, The United States Army in the World War, vol. 4, 675.
28. John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World War, vol. 2 (1931; reprint, Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books, 1989), 90.
29. Hunter Liggett, Ten Years Ago in France (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1928), 84.
30. “Daily Diary of First Fighter Group” (a compilation of the daily journals of the units assigned to the 1st Pursuit Group), 2 July 1918, file no. GP-I-HI (FTR), AFHRA.
31. Diary of Walter S. Williams, 2 July 1918, Walter S. Williams Papers, US Air Force Academy Library Special Collections. Corporal Williams was a member of the 27th Aero Squadron.
32. Buckley, 81.
Dr. Bert Frandsen (BS, Auburn University; MS, Naval Postgraduate School; MA, University of Alabama; PhD, Auburn University) is an assistant professor of joint warfare studies at Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. A graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and of the Joint Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, he retired from the US Army as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of service. Dr. Frandsen is the author of Hat in the Ring: The Birth of American Air Power in the Great War (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003).
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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