With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Kiffin Yates Rockwell, from Asheville, North Carolina, volunteered to fight for France. Initially serving with the French Foreign Legion as a soldier in the trenches, he soon became a founding member of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron made up mostly of American volunteer pilots who served under the French flag before the United States entered the war.
On May 19, 1916, Rockwell became the first American pilot of the war to shoot down a German plane. He was killed during aerial combat on September 23, 1916, at age 24. This book covers Rockwell’s early life and military service with the Lafayette Escadrille, the first ever American air combat unit and the precursor to the United States Air Force.