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Name: Wilbert Wallace "Wilbur" White, Jr.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) with Oak Leaf Cluster
Croix de Guerre and Palm [France]
Wilbert White
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: United States Air Service
Units: 147th Aero
Victories: 8
Born: 01 May 1889
Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA
Died: 10 October 1918 Killed In Action
Place of Death: Near Dun-sur-Meuse, France
Cemetery: Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France
Plot F Row 37 Grave 17 Image
The son of a Protestant minister, White graduated from the University of Wooster in 1912. Married with two children, he enlisted in the United States Air Service on 3 July 1917. Following flight training in Canada and Texas, he was assigned to the 147th Aero Squadron where he would become the squadron's highest scoring ace. After scoring seven confirmed victories, White received authorization to return to the United States. On the afternoon of 10 October 1918, he chose to make one final patrol over the lines in his SPAD XIII. Encountering enemy aircraft, he observed a Fokker D.VII on the tail of a rookie pilot and turned to aid him. When his guns jammed, White rammed the Fokker with his plane. He was killed in the collision but his opponent, Wilhelm Kohlbach of Jasta 10, survived and was credited with his 5th victory over White's SPAD. For this action, White was posthumously recommended for the Medal of Honor but received an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross. White was the highest scoring ace in the 147th Aero Squadron.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Wilbert Wallace White, Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the regions of Etain and Chambley, France, September 14, 1918. While protecting three allied observation planes in the region of Etain, Lieutenant White was attacked by three Halberstadt fighters. He engaged them immediately, successfully fighting them off and leading them all away from the observation planes, which were thus permitted to carry on their work unmolested. While returning home he dived through a cloud to attack an enemy balloon near Chambley, bringing it down in flames. Two Fokker scouts then attacked him; and, although he was alone, with intrepid courage he attacked the first Fokker head on, shooting until it went down into a vertical dive out of control. Pulling up sharply, he fired a long burst at the second Fokker as it went over him, putting it to immediate flight.
General Orders 71, W.D., 1919
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Wilbert Wallace White, Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Toul, France, October 10, 1918. Lieutenant White was in command of a patrol of four planes, which was attacked by five German Fokkers. He attacked the enemy plane which was hard pressing a new pilot. The German Fokker had gotten at the tail of the American plane and was overtaking it. Lieutenant White's gun having jammed, he drove his plane head-on into the German Fokker, both crashing to earth, 500 meters below.
General Orders 71, W.D., 1919
French Croix de Guerre
An exceedingly fine pilot whose courage and brilliant conduct have always been an example to his squadron. In the course of the July operations in 1918, he attacked balloons, forcing them to come down and fired his machine guns at troops on the ground in spite of violent machine gun fire. On 24 July [1918] he attacked alone two enemy planes and brought one down.
French Croix de Guerre citation, July 1918
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 24 Jul 1918 1705 147th   Albatros D.V Château Thierry
2 24 Jul 1918 1705 147th   Albatros D.V Château Thierry
3 14 Sep 1918 1635 147th   Balloon Chambley
4 14 Sep 1918 1640 147th   Fokker D.VII Chambley
5 27 Sep 1918 1745 147th   Fokker D.VII 1 Montfaucon
6 27 Sep 1918 1745 147th   Fokker D.VII Montfaucon
7 10 Oct 1918 1215 147th SPAD XIII (7588) Hannover CL 2 Verdun
8 10 Oct 1918 1550 147th SPAD XIII (7588) Fokker D.VII Dun-sur-Meuse

1 Shared with Lt J P Herron, Lt Eugene R Scroggie
2 Shared with Lt O B Myers, Lt Kenneth Porter
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
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