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Special Collections

L'Escadrille Lafayette Flying Corps Association (MS 19)

This collection relates to the organization, activities , and members of the L'Escadrille Lafayette Flying Corps Association. In an effort to continue friendships and create a contemporary, representative voice for the American volunteer pilots of the First World War, the Association was formalized and active for many years. Significant items include correspondence between Austen B. Crehore, the driving force behind the organization, and his former comrades. As an organization, the Association sponsored the building of a French memorial to the Escadrille and the Flying Corps, organized reunions, and collected biographical information about the aviators. 

There has been a great deal of confusion about the two organizations: The "Lafayette Escadrille" and the "Lafayette Flying Corps".  The Lafayette Escadrille was a unit established on April 15, 1916, made up of 38 Americans and four French aviators who flew in French planes with French mechanics and French uniforms. The squadron suffered heavy looses, but its core group of 38 was rapidly replenished by other Americans arriving from overseas. So many Americans volunteered that the "Lafayette Flying Corps" was eventually formed. In February 1918, the American aviators were transferred to the United States Army AIr Service as the 103rd Aero Pursuit Squadron. The Lafayette was never a unit per se, rather, it was a name used to describe all of the American pilots who flew for the French during World War I.

After the war, pilots kept in touch and as an active and  organized group, they worked on various projects from war memorials in the 1920s to representing the members to Congress in the 1960s in issues of veteran's benefits. Charles H. Dolan, who was the last survivor of the Lafayette Escadrille until his passing in 1981, also has papers in Clark Special Collections Branch (SMS 64).


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U.S. Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO 80840, (719) 333-2590 DSN: 333-2590, Updated 8 Apr 2018
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