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Elliott Cowdin, Lt. Delage, Capt. Thenault, Wm. Thaw (LOC) Lieutenant Colonel Georges Thenault ... was the commander of the Lafayette Escadrille - the famed branch of the French air force in World War I composed of American volunteer pilots

Elliott Cowdin, Lt. Delage, Capt. Thenault, Wm. Thaw (LOC) Lieutenant Colonel Georges Thenault ... was the commander of the Lafayette Escadrille - the famed branch of the French air force in World War I composed of American volunteer pilots

Some of the French medals awarded to Edwin C. Parsons while flying with the Lafayette Escadrille. Photo by Scott Slaten

Some of the French medals awarded to Edwin C. Parsons while flying with the Lafayette Escadrille. Photo by Scott Slaten

Members of the Lafayette Escadrille pose in front of their Nieuports. From left to right: Lt. de Laage de Meux, "Chout" Johnson, Victor Chapman, James McConnell, Bill Thaw, Raoul Lufbery, Kiffin Yates Rockwell, Didier Masson, "Nimmy" Prince, and Bert Hall.

Members of the Lafayette Escadrille pose in front of their Nieuports. From left to right: Lt. de Laage de Meux, "Chout" Johnson, Victor Chapman, James McConnell, Bill Thaw, Raoul Lufbery, Kiffin Yates Rockwell, Didier Masson, "Nimmy" Prince, and Bert Hall.

Lafayette Escadrille, Lt. Raoul Lufbury: World War I Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery - Learn More - http://connecticuthistory.org/world-war-i-flying-ace-raoul-lufbery/

Lafayette Escadrille, Lt. Raoul Lufbury: World War I Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery - Learn More - http://connecticuthistory.org/world-war-i-flying-ace-raoul-lufbery/

Uniform of Edwin C. Parsons who flew with the French Volunteer American Squadron of the Lafayette Escadrille. During his time with the squadron he shot down eight German aircraft. He survived the war and was a technical advisor for Howard Huge's epic "Hell's Angels" movie.  Photo by Scott Slaten

Uniform of Edwin C. Parsons who flew with the French Volunteer American Squadron of the Lafayette Escadrille. During his time with the squadron he shot down eight German aircraft. He survived the war and was a technical advisor for Howard Huge's epic "Hell's Angels" movie. Photo by Scott Slaten

Victor Chapman, Elliott Cowdin, Wm. Thaw, Norman Prince, K. Rockwell, Bert Hall, Lieut. Delnage, J.K. McConnell, Capt. Thenault (LOC)

Victor Chapman, Elliott Cowdin, Wm. Thaw, Norman Prince, K. Rockwell, Bert Hall, Lieut. Delnage, J.K. McConnell, Capt. Thenault (LOC)

Eugene Bullard was the first African American military pilot to fly in combat and the only African American pilot to fly during WWI. Ironically he never flew for the United States, but rather for the Aéronautique Militaire in France.

Eugene Bullard was the first African American military pilot to fly in combat and the only African American pilot to fly during WWI. Ironically he never flew for the United States, but rather for the Aéronautique Militaire in France.

1. K. Rockwell, 2. Capt. Thenault, 3. Norman Prince, 4. Lieut. DeLaage, 5. Sgt. E, Cowdin, 6. Sgt. Bert Hall, 7. J.R. McConnell, and 8. Victor Chapman (LOC)

1. K. Rockwell, 2. Capt. Thenault, 3. Norman Prince, 4. Lieut. DeLaage, 5. Sgt. E, Cowdin, 6. Sgt. Bert Hall, 7. J.R. McConnell, and 8. Victor Chapman (LOC)

French soldiers inspect the crash of a German plane at Verdun, 1916

French soldiers inspect the crash of a German plane at Verdun, 1916

March 14, 1885: Raoul Lufbery, American World War I pilot, was born (d. 1918). Lufbery was a French-American fighter pilot and flying ace in World War I. Because he served in both the French and later the United States Army Air Service in World War I, he is sometimes listed as a French ace and sometimes as an American ace, though all but one of his 17 combat victories came while flying in French units.

March 14, 1885: Raoul Lufbery, American World War I pilot, was born (d. 1918). Lufbery was a French-American fighter pilot and flying ace in World War I. Because he served in both the French and later the United States Army Air Service in World War I, he is sometimes listed as a French ace and sometimes as an American ace, though all but one of his 17 combat victories came while flying in French units.