Maj Gervais Raoul Lufbery
“Hat in the Ring”
94th Aero Squadron
19 May 1918
Maj. Raoul Lufbery, affectionately known as “Luff” was killed in combat over France.
Luff was one of the top-scoring US fighter pilots of the war with 17 victories.
A chocolate maker by trade Lufbery He immigrated the United States and worked a s a Baker and a Waiter to make ends meet. He applied for citizenship and enlisted in the US Army to show he was serious about becoming an American.
Lufbery served in the Philippine Islands and was known as an unusually goo marksman. He was granted his US citizenship while active duty – He took the responsibility to heart.
When was came to Europe in 1914 Lufbery was chomping at the bit to get in the fight but the U.S. remained neutral until 1917 so Luff learned to fly and enlisted with Escadrille V.B. 106 in October 1915
achieved His first official “kill” came on 30 July 1916 over Verdun,fFrance when he brought down an enemy two-seater aircraft… His second kill came later that day.
Luff rapidly achieved the status of Ace – five kills and is the first U.S. citizen to achieve the award. – and went on to earn the Medaille Militaire, Croix de Guerre and Légion d’Honneur, and an official tally of 17 kills.
When the US entered the war Lufbery was reassigned to the U.S. Air Service and assigned to the U.S. 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron as a combat instructor.
On 19 May 1918 he was in a fierce Dog-Fight with a German Rumpler aircraft when his is guns jammed leaving him defenseless.
His fuel tank was hit and the Aircraft engulfed into flames. Lufbery rolled his aircraft and fell from the cockpit 200 feet from the ground, possibly from jumping.
His body was found impaled on a picket fence in Maron, France.
Maj. Lufbery was the commander of the famed 94th Aero Squadron at the time of his death.
He was 33 years old. He is buried with his fellow American Soldiers in France.