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WWI - Aviators

Binarville, France, October 6, 1918

Only four Army Air Service aviators received the Medal of Honor during World War I, half of them for one of the most famous episodes of that terrible conflict, the rescue of the famous "Lost Battalion." Second Lieutenant Erwin R. Bleckley, a field artilleryman from the Kansas National Guard, was an aerial observer attached to the Air Service's 50th Aero Squadron. Bleckley and other Guardsmen had volunteered as individuals for aviation duty during the war. He and other members of the 50th Aero Squadron had been assigned to locate and resupply the 1st Battalion, 308th Infantry, 77th Division. That "Lost Battalion" had been completely cut off and pinned down in a deep ravine by German forces on October 3, 1918, while advancing in the Argonne Forest as part of General John J. Pershing's Meuse-Argonne offensive with 600,000 troops of the American Expeditionary Force. By John D. Shaw, National Guard Series
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WWI - Aviators