Military Figure. He was the youngest child of the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. At age three his father, as the US Vice President, ascended the White House upon the death of President William McKinley. His father's favorite child, he possessed his father's persona more than any of his other children. He was adventurous and often misbehaved, doing things like throwing spitballs at official presidential portraits in the White House, throwing snowballs from the White House roof at unsuspecting people, and once carved a baseball diamond on the White House lawn without permission. He possessed a natural mechanical ability as a young man and could fix almost anything. He attended the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia and later became a student at Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts and the Evans School for Boys in Mesa, Arizona. He excelled academically through all his formal schooling, demonstrating much of the intellectual capacity of his father. In 1915 he was admitted to Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts and by his sophomore year, he was showing promise as a writer. In August 1915 he attended a military summer camp at Plattsburg, New York designed to provide military training for business and professional men at their own expense. When the US entered World War I in April 1917 he dropped out of Harvard at his father's encouragement and joined the newly formed 1st Reserve Aero Squadron and trained on Long Island, New York. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and sent to France in 1918 and first helped in setting up the large Air Service training base at Issoudun. He was a supply officer and later ran one of the training airfields. Eventually he became a pilot in the 95th Aero Squadron, part of the 1st Pursuit Group and was posted to Touquin, France. He was extremely popular with his fellow pilots and known for his daring exploits while piloting his aircraft to the point of being reckless. On July 9, 1918 his unit was posted to Saints, France and he claimed a German fighter shot down the following day. He died three days later at the age of 20 when his aircraft was shot down in aerial combat over enemy lines in Chamery, France and was interred by the German military with full battlefield honors. When his grave came under Allied control, it became a shrine and was visited by thousands of American soldiers. In 1955 his remains were exhumed and reinterred at the World War II American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, next to his oldest brother Theodore, who became a US Army brigadier general during World War II and died of a heart attack shortly after participating in the Allied invasion at Normandy, France. The German-made basswood cross that marked his original gravesite is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. HE was posthumously awarded an A.B. Degree by the Harvard University Class of 1919.
Bio by: William Bjornstad