- Kiffin Rockwell
Kiffin Rockwell was an early aviator whose major claim to fame is as the first American to shoot down an enemy aircraft. (See also
Stephen W. Thompson.)
On May 18 1916, Rockwell attacked and shot down a German aircraft over the
Alsacebattlefield. For this action he was awarded the Medaille Militaireand the Croix de Guerre.
At the outbreak of
World War I, two brothers from Asheville, North Carolina, Kiffin and Paul Rockwell, offered their services to France by letter to the French Consul-Generalin New Orleans. Without waiting for a reply, they boarded the 'St Paul', and on the 7th August 1914 sailed for Europe.
Kiffin Rockwell was shot through the leg on 9 May 1915 when his regiment charged La Targette, north of
Arras. He spent six weeks in the hospitaland when he left for Parison convalescent leave, his leg was completely healed. He spent time with his brother, Paul, who was a war correspondent with the "Chicago Daily News".
On the 26th May 1916, during the defence of
Verdun, Rockwell was wounded in the face, during combat with an enemy airplane.
On 23 September 1916, during a battle high in the air with a German two-manned plane, Rockwell was shot through the chest by an explosive bullet and killed instantly. His plane crashed between the first and second line French trenches, close to the point where his first kill, some 4 months earlier had also come to earth. Rockwell was only the second American airman to die in combat.
* [http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/archives/ffc/Flight/Aviation/Kiffin_Rockwell.html North Carolina Centennial of Flight ] at www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us - North Carolina Centennial of Flight
* [http://www.rockwell-family.org/articles/article00011p1.html Rockwell-family.org ] at www.rockwell-family.org - Kiffin Rockwell and the Lafeyette Escadrille
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