Graduating from Valpariso University with a degree in the law, Clayton Lawrence Bissell enlisted in the United States Air Service in 1917. Assigned to the 148th Aero Squadron operating under British control, he shot down six Fokker D.VIIs while flying the Sopwith Camel. In 1919, he assumed command of the 639th Aero Squadron in occupied Germany. Bissell later served on General "Billy" Mitchell's staff, leading the flight that sank the Ostrieland. In 1922, he made the first successful night flight from Washingon to New York. During World War II, Bissell served as air advisor to General Joseph Stilwell in China and later assumed command of the 10th Air Force in India. Following World War II, he served as Air Attache in London and retired in 1950 having attained the rank of Major General.
Chester Times - Saturday, August 14, 1948
Waterloo Daily Courier - Tuesday, February 01, 1949
Evening World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Wednesday, 30 March 1949, page 1
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Clayton Lawrence Bissell, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the vicinity of Jenlain, France, October 28, 1918. While a member of a flight First Lieutenant Bissell was attacked by greatly superior numbers of enemy planes. Lieutenant Bissell, observing an American plane attacked by eight of the enemy, dived into their midst, destroying one plane, whereupon he was set upon by three enemy Fokkers, one of which he shot down, driving the remaining planes to their own lines. His own plane was so badly crippled as to be beyond repair. The outstanding bravery displayed by Lieutenant Bissell greatly inspired the members of his squadron.
General Orders No. 14, W.D., 1923
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
For skill and gallantry. On 28 October , this officer with his flight, attacked eight Fokker biplanes and after firing a short burst succeeded in shooting down one EA which crashed north of Jenlain. He was then attacked by three other Fokkers but outmaneuvered them and finally shot down one which crashed close to the other. He finished this fight about 200 feet from the ground and was being severely machine gunned by enemy infantry. This officer has served over four months with his squadron and has destroyed four EA and driven down three out of control. His courage, skill and disregard of danger have been worthy of the highest praise.