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Name: Frederick Libby
Military Cross (MC) Frederick Libby
Country: United States
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
United States Air Service
Units: 11, 23 (RFC)
25, 43 (RAF)
22nd Aero (USAS)
Victories: 14
Born: 15 July 1892
Place of Birth: Sterling, Colorado, USA
Died: 09 January 1970
Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cemetery: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, USA
 
 
The son of Freeman Libby and the first American to down five enemy aircraft during World War I, Frederick Libby never flew a combat mission for the United States Air Service. He became an ace while serving as an observer with 11 Squadron in the Royal Flying Corps. When the war began, Libby was in Canada where he joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 12 February 1915. Upon reaching France, he served as a truck driver but was wounded and returned to England in December 1915. When he recovered, he volunteered for service with the Royal Flying Corps. "I had 10 hours of flying before going into combat," he would later say. As an F.E.2b observer, the Colorado cowboy became the first American ace of the war in the summer of 1916. The following year, Libby completed pilot training and was posted to 43 Squadron on 18 April 1917. After scoring 2 victories, he was re-assigned to 25 Squadron as a D.H.4 pilot in August 1917.  At the request of General Billy Mitchell, Libby transferred to the American Air Service on 15 September 1917. Returning to the United States, he participated in the Liberty Loan drive before joining the 22nd Aero as an instructor at Hicks Field in Texas. Unfortunately, Libby was seriously ill by this time and was found to be permanently disabled and medically unfit for further military service.

"Aerial gunnery is 90 percent instinct and 10 percent aim." Frederick Libby

Listed as Fred Libby or Frederick C. Libby some sources. Year of birth is 1891 in some sources.
The Repository, Canton, Ohio, Friday, 2 November 1917, page 24
The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri, Thursday, 27 June 1918, page page 5
Sunday World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday, 5 May 1957, page 12-A
 
Military Cross (MC)
Temp. 2nd Lt. Frederick Libby, Gen. List, and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry in action. As observer, he, with his pilot, attacked four hostile machines and shot one down. He has previously shot down four enemy machines.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 15 Jul 1916 1530 23 F.E.2b 1 AGO C (DESF) Bapaume
2 22 Aug 1916 1910 11 F.E.2b (6994) 2 Roland C.II (OOC) 9 S of Bapaume
3 22 Aug 1916 1910 11 F.E.2b (6994) 2 Roland C.II (OOC) 9 S of Bapaume
4 22 Aug 1916 1910 11 F.E.2b (6994) 2 Roland C.II (OOC) S of Bapaume
5 25 Aug 1916 1300 11 F.E.2b (6994) 2 Aviatik C (OOC) Bapaume
6 14 Sep 1916 0930 11 F.E.2b (6994) 2 Two-seater (OOC) SE of Bapaume
7 22 Sep 1916 11 F.E.2b 3 Scout (OOC) Logeast
8 10 Oct 1916 1600 11 F.E.2b (7678) 4 Scout (OOC) Bapaume
9 17 Oct 1916 1115 11 F.E.2b (7027) 2 Albatros D.I (OOC) Mory
10 20 Oct 1916 1130 11 F.E.2b (7027) 2 Albatros D.I (OOC) 10 Douxcette-Ayette
11 06 May 1917 1630 43 Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A1010) 5 Two-seater (DES) S of Avion
12 23 Jul 1917 1745 43 Sopwith 1½ Strutter (A8785) 6 Albatros D.III (OOC) NE of Lens
13 08 Aug 1917 2130 25 D.H.4 (A7543) 7 Albatros D.V (OOC) Henin Lietard
14 14 Aug 1917 0520 25 D.H.4 (A7543) 7 Two-seater (OOC) Lens

1 Pilot Lt E D Hicks
2 Pilot Capt Stephen Price
3 Pilot Sgt Thompson
4 Pilot Lt R P Harvey
5 Observer Lt J L Dickson
6 Observer Lt E W Pritchard
7 Observer Lt D M Mills
8 Shared with Lt L B F Morris, Lt Lionel Rees
9 Shared with Lt Dowling, Lt A L Harrow-Bunn
 
Books
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Horses Don't Fly
The True Story of the Cowboy Who Became a World War I Hero & America's First Ace; Frederick Libby / Hardcover / Arcade Pub 2000
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
In Clouds of Glory: American Airmen Who Flew With The British During The Great War
by James J. Hudson / Paperback / University of Arkansas Press (October 1, 1990)
 
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