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Freedom is not free. It is paid with every drop of blood, sweat, and tears of our men and women who serve or has served in the armed forces.

World War 1 Patriots: The Aces

World War 1, also known as the Great War, saw the advancement of technology like no other war. This war was the first to have air combat in the history of the world. With the invention of the plane, the Great War produced numerous heroes that risked their lives for their country using a new machine called the air plane. Such a machine had great potential and none was greater than to be used as a method to keep our nation free.

Initially, Europe would be the first to apply this new technology in a combat situation. Much had to be learned within a short amount of time. Who would even dare to sit behind a powerful engine and fly at heights that were unforgiving in emergency situations? However, many Americans came to the call of duty and took the first steps into the future of our now Air Force military branch of service. These men include people like Lieutenants Frank L. Baylies and David E. Putnam.

LT. Frank L. Baylies

Lt. Baylies volunteered to serve along side the French to assist in sustaining their liberty. Like those French soldiers who aided the Americans in the Revolutionary War, Lt. Baylies was compelled to assist France. Initially, he drove an ambulance as his first position of duty. He later transferred to aviation and attended training school at Avord and became a member of the Lafayette Escadrille. When American finally entered the war in 1917, he chose to remain with the French service to continue flying and fighting the Germans.

In February 1918, Lt. Baylies shot down his first plane. He would eventually shoot down twenty enemy planes, of which only twelve would be officially recorded. On June 17 of that same year, Lt. Baylies found himself engaged with three German tri planes. A fourth plane appeared out of the clouds in a surprise maneuver from the rear of his plane. Lt. Baylies lost the battle.

His fearless and heroic fighting in the skies was respected by both friendly and foe. On July 6th, a few weeks later, a German plane respectfully swooped low over French lines and dropped a weighted banner that read: " Pilot Baylies killed in combat. Buried with military honors."

Lt Baylies represented the spirit of patriotism and willingness to fight for a cause greater than himself. His small part in the war contributed immensely to the success of aiding the French and saving the people of Europe.

Lt. David E. Putnam

Lt. Putnam was a descendant of General Israel Putnam of the American Revolutionary War. He was a fierce pilot who faced the odds with optimism. In June of 1918, Lt. Putnam attempted to stop a German attack on Paris. While German planes were in route to Paris, Lt. Putnam pursued the German planes while flying low with seemingly complete indifference to the bullets from the ground which damaged the wings of his plane. Because of his flying skills, he caught the Germans in massed formations and sprayed them with machine gun fire. This act thwarted their plans and Lt. Putnam lived to fight another day.

On June 10th, Lt. Putnam faced two combats behind enemy lines. His unbelievable skills resulted in bringing down 5 German planes. Unfortunately, on September 18, 1918, Lt. Putnam was killed, ending the life of a true patriot.

Both Lt Putnam and Lt Baylies proved to be successful pilots who helped in winning the war. While their service was short-lived, they represent the spirit and courage of all those who took up the charge to protect freedom from tyrants. It has been over 90 years since these great men flew in the skies over France, but their stories will live forever as patriots and heroes of America.

 

Sacrifice for free is not duty but an honor.

 

 

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