American Eagles - US Military Aviation in World War I
This .pdf on the United States Air Service, UN Naval Aviation, US Marine Aviation during World War I started with a bit of research on Quentin Roosevelt, Eddie Rick-enbacker, Frank Luke, Billy Mitchell, Carl Spatz and the World War I American aviators in France. I very rapidly found that what I intended to be a one or two day project was absolutely fascinating and that I was uncovering a somewhat forgotten chapter in our nation's history. One story led to another and I found myself writing down not just a page or two, but 90, then 200 and then more...
American Eagles is 345 pages packed with amazing photos and the story of US World War I combat aviation –the pilots, their planes, their aerodromes, the stories and what happened to them after the war. The book covers the training in the United States, the Lafayette Escadrille, US Naval Aviation, US Marine Aviation and the United States Air Service which eventually became the United States Air Force. It was this time period that saw the first American fighters, bombers and observation planes as well as the maturity of balloon observation.
American Eagles provides back stories, new maps, diagrams, photos, as well as perspectives of the American pilots as well as those who interacted with them. It weaves personal interviews, first hand perspectives, official histories and down to earth technical explanations to make a compelling, well documented and extensively researched page turner. In fact, combat is only perhaps one-third of the book.
22 months of research have dug up new information, photos and interviews that have not been published before thanks to visits to France, correspondence with French and American aviation experts and source archive research.
I have deliberately not focused too much on combat or on too many people since that tends to get overwhelming and confusing. Instead, I focus more in depth on fewer people. I include famous aviators such as Rickenbacker, Luke and Roosevelt. But also some not so famous like Leroy "Crash" Prinz who wrecked more planes than anyone else in US military history, but went on to help make 200 films in Hollywood and Harold Tittmann who was considered the worst injured American to survive ANY war and who went on to be the only American diplomat at the Vatican during World War II.
The book also contains both black and white period photos and newer color photos of museum pieces and locations as they are now – 90 years after the events.
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