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Eugene Jacques Bullard
Birth: Oct. 9, 1894
Muscogee County
Georgia, USA
Death: Oct. 13, 1961
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

World War I Military Figure. He was a highly decorated Black soldier and combat pilot who fought with the French during World War I. One of ten children with only a 4th-grade education, his father was descended from Haitian slaves and his mother was a Creek Native American. At a young age, he witnessed his father's near lynching and decided to leave the US, eventually stowing away on a German ship bound for Aberdeen, Scotland. He worked his way to Glasgow, Scotland and Liverpool, England, where he was employed as a longshoreman and trained as a boxer at a local gym, soon becoming a fairly successful prize fighter. He then joined a travelling act that entertained audiences across Europe and Russia with singing, dancing and slapstick comedy. He decided to leave the travelling act and settle in Paris, France, where he worked in a music hall and as an amateur boxer. When World War I broke out in July 1914, he enlisted three months later in the 1st Foreign Regiment of the French Foreign Legion, and saw combat on the Somme front, at Artois, and the Second Battle of Champagne. He then transferred to the 170th Line Infantry Regiment, nicknamed "The Swallows of Death," and in March 1916 he was seriously wounded at the Battle of Verdun. In October of that year he volunteered for the French Air Service as an air gunner and later trained as a pilot with the Lafayette Flying Corps, one of only a few Black combat pilots in World War I and first Haitian-American military pilot. In June 1917 he was promoted to the rank of corporal and was assigned to the Escadrille SPA 93 at Beauzée-sur-Aire south of Verdun and flew around 20 combat missions and is thought to have shot down at least two enemy aircraft. After the US entered World War I, he applied to join the US Army Air Service but was rejected on account of his race. He continued to serve with the French forces until his discharge in October 1919. He remained in Paris, married a French countess, and worked as a musician and nightclub manager and became the owner of his own affluent nightclub, "L'Escadrille" as well as an athletic club. After World War II broke out in September 1939, he joined the French underground and resistance movement. Because he was fluent in German, was recruited to spy on Germans who frequented his nightclub. When Germany invaded France in May 1940, he quickly left Paris and joined the 51st Infantry of the French Army in defense of city of Orléans. After being wounded, he fled to Spain and in July 1940 he returned to the US where he was hospitalized in New York to recover from his injury. He then found work as a security guard, perfume salesman, and interpreter for jazz musician Louis Armstrong, but was physically limited due to his injury. In September 1949 he was severely beaten by an angry mob following a Civil Rights Congress benefit near Peekskill, New York. In the 1950s he worked as an elevator operator at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, living virtually unknown and alone in a small apartment. He died of stomach cancer at the age of 66. Among his French military awards and decorations include the Legion of Honor, the Military Medal, the Croix de Guerre (with bronze star), the Croix du Combattant Volontaire (1914-1918), the Combatant's Cross, the Insignia Medal for the Military Wounded, the Victory Medal (1914-1918), the Verdun Medal, the Somme Medal, the World War I Commemorative Medal, the Commemorative Medal for Voluntary Service in Free France, and the World War II Commemorative Medal. His medals are on display in the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In 1972 his exploits as a pilot were included in the biography, "The Black Swallow of Death." In August 1994 he was posthumously commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Air Force. The 2006 movie "Flyboys" loosely depicts him and his fellow pilots during World War I. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Federation of French War Veterans Cemetery
Queens County
New York, USA
Plot: No. 7, Plot 53
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Aug 22, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6157
Eugene Jacques Bullard
Added by: Curtis Jackson
Eugene Jacques Bullard
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
Eugene Jacques Bullard
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
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Thank you for your courage and valor fighting for France during World War I. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Nov. 3, 2015

- Joseph Lankard
 Added: Sep. 4, 2015

- Kathy Londo Barnes
 Added: Sep. 4, 2015
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