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Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

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U.S. Air Force

Listed Chronologically By War

For Acts of Valor

"Above and Beyond the Call of Duty"

A Hall of Heroes E-Book

By C. Douglas Sterner

These pages are provided by the Hall Of Heroes, Pueblo, Colorado.  You may feel free to reproduce and use them in any quantity for all non-Commercial, educational or patriotic programs. Non-profit organizations may print these in quantity for fund raising purposes. - P.O. Box 122 - Pueblo, CO 81003

Copyright © 2002 by

All Rights Reserved

Sketches Courtesy of the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

For the first time since the medieval period, when knights mounted on horseback faced each other in individual combat, World War I began to change the face of warfare. A new breed of soldier emerged, mounting steeds with horsepower and propelled through the heavens by wings. They were US Army aviators, often overlooked and under-rated in strategic battle planning. The airplane was still in its adolescent stage, less than 15 years old, as these new Knights of the Skies took to the clouds over Europe to write a new chapter in military history. They were independent enough to ignore detractors, stubborn enough to do that which was thought impossible, and courageous enough to gradually earn the respect of the foot-soldiers and their commanders on the ground.

The earliest airplanes were open-cockpit, single-seat mounts and a pilot's only weapon was a sidearm and perhaps a few bricks to drop on enemy troops below. Shortsighted planners limited the use of these aircraft to observation missions, innocuous jobs that could none-the-less, quickly turn deadly. Aerial combat grew quickly however, as the independent young men with a thirst for adventure joined the new ARMY AIR SERVICE.

In the brief period of World War I these brave American airmen wrote their own instruction manual as they lived it, and began new traditions in valor. All were heroic, many became aces, and far too many died in the defense of freedom. Four of them were later awarded their Country's highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor. Three of the four never lived to wear their award, the fourth surviving to become an American legend. These brave knights of the skies not only wrote history, they created a future.

Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

First Lieutenant, US Army Air Service

Born:   October 08, 1890 at Columbus, OH
Entered Service:   Columbus, OH
Date/Place of Action:  September 25, 1918 - Billy, France
Unit:   94th Aero Squadron
Presentation:  Presented at Bolling Field near Washington, DC
     by President Herbert Hoover on November 6, 1930
Date of Death:   July 23, 1973
Buried at:  Greenlawn Cemetery - Columbus, OH

Frank Luke, Jr.

Second Lieutenant, US Army Air Service

Born:   May 19, 1897 at Phoenix, AZ
Entered Service:   Phoenix, AZ
Date/Place of Action:  September 29, 1918 - Murvaux, France
Unit:  27th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group
Presentation:  Presented to his father in Phoenix, AZ
     by Brigadier General Howard R. Hickock on May 29, 1919
Date Of Death:  September 29, 1918 (Killed In Action)
Buried at:  Meuse-Argonne Cemetery - Romagne Meuse, France

Erwin Russel Bleckley

Second Lieutenant, US Army Air Service

Born:  December 30, 1894 at Wichita, KS
Entered Service:   Wichita, KS
Date/Place of Action:   October 06, 1918 - Binarville, France
Unit:  50th Aero Squadron, 130th Field Artillery, Air Service
Presentation:  G.O. 56, WD - December 30, 1922
Date of Death:    October 06, 1918 (Killed In Action) 
Buried at:  Meuse-Argonne Cemetery - Romagne Meuse, France

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