The son of Carl A. Meissner of Brooklyn, New York, JamesArmand Meissner left Sibley College to enter the first squadron of the United States Army's School of Military Aeronautics at Cornell University. He graduated from ground school on 14 July 1917 and left Cornell in his junior year to volunteer for aviation duty overseas. He was trained in France where he received his commission as First Lieutenant in January 1918. On 17 March 1918 he was assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron in France, scoring four confirmed victories flying the Nieuport 28. In July 1918 he assumed command of the 147th Aero Squadron, scoring four more victories while flying the SPAD XIII. Post-war Meissner graduated from Cornell with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1919. He organized the Alabama National Guard in 1920 and, for a time, served as its commanding officer. He died at his home in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 39.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, 13 July 1918, page 1
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to James A. Meissner, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the Toul sector in May 2, 1918. First Lieutenant Meissner attacked three enemy planes at an altitude of 4,800 meters over the Foret De La Rappe, France. After a short fight he brought down one of the machines in flames. During the combat the entering wedge and the covering of the upper wings of his plane were torn away and after the battle he was subjected to heavy fire from antiaircraft batteries, but by skillful operation and cool judgment he succeeded in making a landing within the American lines.
General Orders No. 121, W.D., 1918
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to James A. Meissner, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Jaulny, France, May 30, 1918. Lieutenant Meissner attacked two enemy planes at an altitude of 4,500 meters above Jaulny, and after a sharp engagement shot one down in flames and forced the other back into its own territory.