A graduate of Cornell University's School of Military Aeronautics, Hilbert Leigh Bair joined the United States Air Service on 18 July 1917. To gain combat experience, he was attached to the Royal Air Force in July 1918. Flying the S.E.5a with 24 Squadron, Bair scored his first victory on 10 August 1918, becoming an ace in less than a month. In October 1918, he rejoined the United States Air Service, serving with the 25th Aero Squadron until the end of the war. During World War II, Bair served with the United States Army Air Corps and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
The Sunday Repository, Canton, Ohio, Sunday, 10 November 1918, page 1
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
For conspicuous bravery and skill in attacking enemy aircraft and troops on the ground. On 15 September 1918, he and another pilot attacked an enemy two-seater, which after considerable fighting, they drove down and crashed near Honnecourt Wood. On 16 September , he engaged and drove down, completely out of control, an enemy two-seater southeast of Cambrai. On 30 August 1918, he performed brilliant and valuable work attacking and silencing an enemy battery west of Bouvincourt. When this battery reopened fire, he again attacked it and after silencing it, stampeded the battery. In all, he has destroyed or taken part in the destruction of three enemy aircraft besides driving down two others completely out of control. His work in attacking ground targets has been of the greatest value.