Too young for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Gorman DeFreest Larner, the son of Robert M. and Adelaide (DeFreest) Larner of Washington, D.C., left Columbia University and entered the Curtiss Aviation School at Buffalo, New York before he joined the French Air Service on 10 July 1917. Downing two enemy aircraft, he remained with the French until he joined the 103rd Aero Squadron of the U.S. Air Service on 16 June 1918. Flying SPAD XIIIs, he scored 5 more victories by the end of the war. Following the Armistice, he served at the Paris Peace Conference before returning to the United States in September 1919. He completed his studies at Columbia University, graduating in 1921, and, together with George Vaughn and Howard Burdick, served with the 102nd Observation Squadron of the New York National Guard, the first air squadron to be organized by the National Guard. While general manager or the National Aeronautic Association, Larner was granted a leave of absence to return to active duty as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. In later life, he was chairman of Robinson Aviation before he retired in 1964.
Listed as G. De Freest Larner in some sources.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Gorman DeFreest Larner, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Champeny, France, September 13, 1918. Lieutenant Larner attacked an enemy patrol of six machines (Fokker type), and fought against the great odds until he had destroyed one and forced the others to retire.
General Orders No. 145, W.D., 1918
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) - Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Gorman DeFreest Larner, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Montfaucon, France, October 4, 1918. While leading a patrol of four monoplace planes, Lieutenant Lamer led his patrol in an attack on an enemy formation of seven planes. By skillfully maneuvering he crushed one of the enemy machines and with the aid of his patrol forced the remainder of the enemy formation to withdraw.