Kiffin Rockwell, the Lafayette Escadrille and the Birth of the United States Air Force

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

T.B. Murphy is a pilot in the United States Air Force with more than a decade of fighter aircraft experience. He lives in Germany.

Bibliographic Details

T.B. Murphy
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, 3 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6401-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2431-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Prologue 7

 1. The Early Years 9

 2. Leaving Home 16

 3. World War I Begins 24

 4. Training in the French Foreign Legion 33

 5. At the Front 45

 6. The Battle of Artois 57

 7. Kiffin’s Recovery and New Hope 68

 8. Pilot Training 75

 9. The Creation of the Lafayette Escadrille 88

10. Verdun 98

11. The Lafayette Escadrille Comes of Age 109

12. Passing the Torch 120

13. The Climax of the Lafayette Escadrille 132

14. The Transition to the U.S. Air Service 144

15. The Dawn of American Air Power 152

16. The Legacy of the Lafayette Escadrille 160

17. Final Thoughts 171

Chapter Notes 175

Bibliography 183

Index 185