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Medal of Honor
(Aviators of World War One, Volume 1)
by Alan Durkota
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: FLYING MACHINES PRESS (January 1998)
Language: English
ISBN: 1891268031

"Eight pilots or aircrewmen received the Medal of Honor during WWI: four Army, two Navy, and two Marine Corps fliers. The six chapters of this well researched volume--first in a planned series--deals with each in considerable detail.

The first Medal of Honor action involving a US aviator was that of Ens. Charles Hammann, flying an Italian seaplane fighter against the Austrians in August 1918.

On 25 September two incidents occurred on opposite sides of the Atlantic as Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker flew a solo patrol over France and Chief Machinist F.E. Ormsbee saved a student flier at Pensacola, Florida. Both these events were unusual: Rickenbacker's award was not presented until 1930, and Ormsbee's was earned for life saving rather than combat.

Four days later Lt. Frank Luke's spectacular career ended in a dusk shootout with Germany infantry.

During October two D.H.4 crews flew exceptional missions: Lts. H.E. Goettler and E.W. Bleckley of the 50th Aero and Lt. Ralph Talbot with Sgt. R.G. Robinson of the Northern Bombardment Group. The army men perished in their support of the "lost battalion" while Talbot died in a subsequent crash and Robinson sustained severe wounds.

The most original research is found in the Rickenbacker and Luke chapters. In fact, a careful reading of EVR's chapter reveals that fewer than 10 of his credited 26 victories can be substantiated; one "kill" was confirmed because "the aircraft was last seen in a vertical bank." (!)   Several of Luke's victims are identified by unit, and it is noted that he was engaged to be married when he left for France.

As with all FMP offerings, this one is well illustrated. The photo selection in each chapter is excellent, and the numerous color profiles of   aircraft will be welcomed by modelers.

"Medal of Honor Aviators" rates five stars."

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

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