With Veterans Day approaching here’s another look at some neglected World War One history.
ARTHUR R.”RAY” BROOKS – Captain Ray Brooks graduated from MIT in 1917 and immediately volunteered to serve in the World War that the U.S. had just entered. Brooks got his first 3 kills with the 139th Squadron and 6 more after transferring to the 22nd Aero Squadron. FOUR of Captain Brooks’ kills came in one dogfight as he tackled a squadron of 8 Fokker planes single-handedly. Seriously.
In addition to those kills Ray Brooks had 4 more probables and went on to win the Distinguished Service Cross. He was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor but was not confirmed for it, unfortunately. Brooks flew a Smith IV Spad XIII.
WILLIAM T BADHAM – Lieutenant William Badham was a Yale man before the war. Known here at Balladeer’s Blog as “Badass Badham” this Alabaman began flying with America’s 91st Observation Squadron on May 28th, 1918. Badham flew in Salmson 2A 2-seater planes as a gunner.
In the following months Badham shot down 5 German planes, starting with a Pfalz Scout. This iron man from iron country was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and lived to a ripe old age, dying of natural causes at 95 on June 6th, 1991.
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