World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr
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World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient  2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr.  . Country: United States Rank: 2nd Lieutenant Service: United States Air Service Units: 27th Aero (Eagle) Victories: 18 Born: 19 May 1897 Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona

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World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient  2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr.  

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World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient 2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr.  


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

Country: United StatesRank: 2nd LieutenantService: United States Air ServiceUnits: 27th Aero (Eagle)Victories: 18

Born: 19 May 1897Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona

Died: 29 September 1918Place of Death: Near Murvaux

Cemetery: Romagne Military Cemetery


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

Frank Luke, called the most spectacular air fighter of World War I, who shot town 18 airplanes and balloons in his short military career, enlisted in the Signal Corps Sept. 25, 1917. He took ground training at the University of Texas' School of Military Aeronautics and learned to fly at Rockwell Field, San Diego, Calif.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

On Aug. 16, 1918, Lieutenant Luke engaged in his first aerial combat, shooting down an enemy plane--he eventually got four airplanes and 14 balloons, the 18 being second to Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker's 26 confirmations.Lieutenant Luke earned the reputation of being a "lone fighter," preferring to seek out and destroy the enemy on his own initiative. Thirteen of his victories were obtained in a single week in September, and on two days of that week he did not fly. He finally agreed to partnership, and for awhile teamed with Lt. Joseph Wehner.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

During the St. Mihiel offensive in Sept. 1918, the pair destroyed three balloons at Reville, Mangiennes, and Romagne on Sept. 16, and two days later got two more near Labeuville. Somehow, on the latter mission, the pair became separated and Luke shot down three enemy planes.Lieutenant Luke's big day, and final one, was Sept. 29, 1918. He had been grounded the previous day for being absent without permission and now he went to the air without proper authority. He destroyed three enemy observation balloons in the Meuse region. but was hit and wounded during the encounter. He was being chased by eight enemy Fokker planes that were protecting the balloons he shot down and he also was under heavy fire from ground batteries.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

The Medal of Honor, which he earned for this final heroic action, tells the rest of the story best: "Severely wounded, Lieutenant Luke descended to within 50 meters of the ground and, flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux, opened fire upon enemy troops, killing six and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest."


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

During his short but colorful career, Frank Luke also earned two Distinguished Service Crosses for extraordinary heroism in air action in the face of heavy enemy fire. He was only 21 years old when he was killed. On Armistice Day 1930, a costly statue of Frank Luke, Jr. was unveiled on the capitol grounds in Phoenix. In June 1949, the Army Air Base near Phoenix was named Luke AFB in his honor. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the "Arizona Balloon Buster" was the leading ace in the United States Air Service at the time of his death.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

After aerial combat training at Issoudun, France, Luke was assigned to the 27th Pursuit Squadron under Harold Hartney on 25 July 1918. Often flying alone or with his sidekick Joseph Wehner, Luke shot down 18 enemy balloons and planes in 17 days before he was killed in action. After flaming three German balloons on 29 September 1918, his SPAD S.XIII was shot down by ground fire. Resisting capture, he shot it out with approaching German soldiers and was killed near the crash site. After the war, Luke's remains were reburied at the Romagne Military Cemetery. Luke Air Force Base was named in his honor.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

After aerial combat training at Issoudun, France, Luke was assigned to the 27th Pursuit Squadron under Harold Hartney on 25 July 1918. Often flying alone or with his sidekick Joseph Wehner, Luke shot down 18 enemy balloons and planes in 17 days before he was killed in action. After flaming three German balloons on 29 September 1918, his SPAD S.XIII was shot down by ground fire. Resisting capture, he shot it out with approaching German soldiers and was killed near the crash site. After the war, Luke's remains were reburied at the Romagne Military Cemetery. Luke Air Force Base was named in his honor.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

Lt. Frank Luke (standing next to the wreckage of a recent hit) is in a spirited race with Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker for the honor of being called the "ACE" of the American fliers overseas. Lt. Luke brought down three German observation balloons in thirty five minutes. 1918.


World war i congressional medal of honor recipient 2nd lt frank luke jr

Lt. Frank Luke monument south of Dur-Sur-Meuse Hwy D102 in the village of Murvaux, France


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