Serving his country in a roundabout way A few weeks ago, we wrote how in September 1917, Arthur Gould Lee was fighting Richthofen's Flying Circus. But around this time of year, it was Eugene Bullard's turn. It was late in the year when Eugene Bullard tried to transfer from the Lafayette Flying Corps to fly directly for the US. They were saying all US pilots flying for France would be allowed to transfer, and be promoted to officer status. So Bullard was given a physical. The American doctors said he had flat feet, and he pointed out his flat feet had...
"I glanced at my watch. One minute to 11:00, thirty seconds, fifteen. And then it was 11:00 A.M., the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I was the only audience for the greatest show ever presented."
"When you were lucky enough at last to be admitted, you were met at the door by le Pere Lebas himself. He would curse you out in a loud voice and call you dirty names. That is the way he received everyone - officers, aces, ladies, stars, and boxers alike. This kept the crowd inside laughing until closing time."
"As the winter deepens, air traffic slows down. There is much rain and snow. Even on dry days the heavy clouds drift so low that no takeoffs are ordered. We sit around in our rooms. I am quartered in the country house of a lace manufacturer."
November 11th, 1917 - the soon-to-be famous, the soon-to-be dead, and the soon-to-be adrift in a world not at war, one year from now.