Sunday, May 07, 2006

Eddie Rickenbacker "Hat in the Ring Squadron"

Before famous WW1 ace Eddie Rickenbacher flew Spads he flew this French built Newport into battle.
Eddie enlisted in the U.S. Army in May, 1917 and arrived in France on June 26. Although interested in aviation, the AEF assigned him as staff driver for General John Pershing at the rank of sargent first-class. With the connivance of high-ranking friends in the AEF, Rickenbacker was accepted into the air corps. He trained at Tours, France, was promoted to lieutenant, and became the chief engineer at Issodun air training facility. In March, 1918, after training in aerial gunnery at Cazeau, Eddie was assigned to the 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron, the first all-American air unit to see combat (April 14, 1918). He became an ace, and won the French Croix de Guerre, in May by shooting down five German airplanes and was named commander of the 94th, the "Hat-in-the-Ring" Squadron, on September 24. The following day, Eddie shot dow two more German airplanes, victories for which the U.S. government awarded him a belated Congressional Medal of Honor in 1930. His twenty-sixth confirmed victory occurred on October 30, and the last victory (the 69th) for the 94th occurred on November 10, 1918. World War I ended the next day.

Truly a time when "Men were men!"

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