World War I Flying Ace. Born the son of astronomer William Wallace Campbell, head of the Lick Observatory, in San Francisco, California. He attended Harvard University, leaving his senior year after the U.S. entered the First World War, and enlisted in May 1917, in the United States Signal Corps, Aviation Section, training at the School of Military Aeronautics. He shipped out to France in July 1917. He took additional training at the Army Flying School in early 1918 at Issoudun and Casaux, and was then assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron, known as the "Hat in the Ring" squadron, of the First Pursuit Group. Six days after being assigned to the western front, he and fellow pilot, Alan Winslow, engaged in their first aerial dogfight with enemy aircraft, the first Americans to do so. In a battle fought over the Allied Squadron Aerodrome at Toul, France, they succeeded in shooting down two German Albatross on April 14, 1918. He shot down a second enemy flier in his first dogfight flying with American Expeditionary Forces. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French. He downed a third enemy flier on May 19 and a fourth on May 27. The following day, he attacked another plane, but its destruction was not confirmed. On May 31, the 22-year-old lieutenant was credited with his fifth confirmed kill, and earned the designation of ace, the first American-trained pilot to be so designated. He shot down a sixth plane on June 5. During this last mission, he was wounded by an exploding shell, and was sent back to the U.S. to recuperate. He was reassigned to his squadron in November 1918, but saw no further action before the Armistice of November 11,1918, less than a week later. He received the American Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. After the war, he went to work for W. R. Grace & Company. In 1935, he was named assistant treasurer of Pan American Grace Airways (Panagra). He was named a Vice President in 1939, and became its General Manager in 1948. He retired in 1963. His wartime exploits were recounted in the 1984 book 'Let's Go Where The Action Is: The Wartime Experiences of Douglas Campbell,' by Jack Eder. He succumbed to respiratory failure at age 94.
Bio by: Iola
William Wallace Campbell
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