22d Aero Squadron

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22d Aero Squadron
22d Aero Squadron - SPAD 13-Smithsonian.jpg
22d Aero Squadron SPAD S.XIII "Smith IV", flown by Captain Arthur Raymond Brooks. Captain Brooks was a Flying Ace, credited with shooting down six enemy aircraft. This aircraft is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
22d Aero Squadron - SPAD 13.jpg
Captain Brooks with "Smith IV", Belrain Aerodrome, France, 1918.
Active 16 June 1917-16 June 1919
Country  United States
Branch US Army Air Roundel.svg  Air Service, United States Army
Type Squadron
Role Pursuit
Part of American Expeditionary Forces (AEF)
Nickname "Shooting Stars"
Engagements World War I War Service Streamer without inscription.png
World War I
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Capt. Raymond C. Bridgeman[1]
Lt. George W. Lindsay
Lt. Henry K. Davis[2]
Insignia
22d Aero Squadron Emblem 22d Aero Squadron - Emblem.jpg
Aircraft flown
Fighter SPAD S.XIII, 1918–1919[3]
Trainer Curtiss JN-4, 1917 [3]
Service record
Operations

2d Pursuit Group
Western Front, France: 22 August-11 November 1918[4]

  • Sorties: 914
  • Combat missions: 115
  • Enemy combats: 95
  • Killed: 5
  • Wounded: 0
  • Missing: 4
  • Aircraft lost: 16 [2]
Victories
  • Enemy Aircraft shot down: 44[5]
  • Enemy Balloons shot down: 2[5]
  • Total Enemy Aircraft Destroyed: 46[5]

Air Aces: 5[6]

The 22d Aero Squadron was an United States Army Air Service unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Day Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron as part of the 2d Pursuit Group, First United States Army. Its mission was to engage and clear enemy aircraft from the skies and provide escort to reconnaissance and bombardment squadrons over enemy territory. It also attacked enemy observation balloons, and perform close air support and tactical bombing attacks of enemy forces along the front lines.[7] After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron returned to the United States in June 1919 and was demobilized.

In April 1937 its lineage and history was consolidated with those of the United States Army Air Corps 22d Observation Squadron.[3][8]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The 22d Aero Squadron was organized at Kelly Field, Texas, on June 16, 1917. Initially 150 men, it was later expanded to a size of 200. Once organized, the 22d was sent to Toronto, Canada, on August 9 to begin formal training under the auspices of the Royal Flying Corps at their facilities. In Canada, the squadron trained on the Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny", and detachments attended schools at locations around the Toronto area. The men received instruction on engine and aircraft maintenance.[2]

On October 19 the squadron finished its initial training and was sent to Hicks Field, near Fort Worth, Texas. Hicks was also designated Field #1 of the Camp Taliaferro training complex, operated also by the British Royal Flying Corps. When the squadron arrived, Hicks Field was still under construction; however, flying training in the JN-4 was conducted and 42 flight cadets soloed in the Jenny. Orders were received for overseas movement to France, and the squadron left for the Aviation Concentration Center, Long Island, on January 21, 1918, arriving on the 25th. The squadron boarded the RMS Adriatic in New York Harbor on the 31st, arriving in Liverpool, England on February 16 after an uneventful voyage and proceeding to a "Rest Camp", where the pilots were sent to various advanced training schools in England, while the enlisted support personnel were sent to France for training with RFC units on the continent.[2]

Training in France[edit]

Training at the 3d Air Instructional Center, Issoudun Airdrome, July 1918

In France, the squadron was divided into Flights and divided among units of the Royal Naval Air Service that were engaged in day-bombing: "HQ", "A" and "B" Flights to No. 6 Squadron, and "C" Flight to No. 2 Squadron. Later transfers were "A" Flight to No. 4 Aviation Service Depot at Guînes for instruction and repair work and "B" Flight to No. 3 Squadron, RNAS on the Somme, where one man was captured by the Germans in a ground attack during the German drive of March 21. The segments received much experience in German bombing, sea-raids, and shelling by the famous "Ludendorf" gun. During the British retreat, camps were hurriedly broken up and re-pitched at a succession of locations.[2][9]

On June 24, 1918, the flights were reassembled at Guînes Aerodrome and then went to the American 3d Air Instructional Center at Issoudun Aerodrome, where the Squadron remained until July 7, when the pilots received their final combat training. It then moved to the Air Service Acceptance Park No. 1 at Orly Field, near Paris. At Orly the enlisted strength was reduced to 176 men, who were detailed to work in the several departments in the Park. At Orly, the squadron was classified as a Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron and was assigned to the 2d Pursuit Group, 1st Pursuit Wing, First American Army, AEF, joining the 13th, 49th and 139th Aero Squadrons.[2][9]

From Orly, the 22d then moved to their first combat airfield in the "Zone of Advance", Gengault Aerodrome, near Toul. There the squadron received its combat aircraft and pilots, SPAD XIII's from the 1st Air Depot at Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome, equipped with 220 hp Hispano engines. It received its full compliment of 25 aircraft and pilots by 26 August.[2][9]

Combat in France[edit]

New 22d Aero Squadron (Pursuit) SPAD XIII, Gengault Aerodrome, August 1918

The 22d Aero Squadron flew its first combat patrol on August 21, 1918 in preparation for the St. Mihiel offensive. As the date of the attack grew nearer, the flying over the sector increased. The squadron achieved its first aerial victory on September 2 with the shooting down of a German Rumpler in the region of Arracourt by Lt Brooks. The next victory came two days later on the 4th when Lieutenants Brooks, Tyndall and Jones attacked a Fokker that had attacked Allied balloons. From this point contact and combat with enemy aircraft was frequent, along with German anti-aircraft artillery fire (Archies) causing damage to several squadron planes.[2]

With clear flying weather by September 13, the air filled with Allied and German aircraft. Flights of the 11th and 20th Squadrons' de Havilland DH-4 bombers were attached to the squadron and the mission of the 22d became escorting the DH-4s to attack ground targets behind the German lines. Salmson 2A2s from the 1st, 12th and 91st Observation Squadrons flew frequent reconnaissance and photographic missions and the 22d's SPADs kept the Germans at a distance. On September 14, a large air battle took place between the 22d and German aircraft near Verdun. The 22d was to meet a Salmson over Mars-la-Tour about 3:00 pm with orders to clear the skies of German aircraft to allow the Salmson to take photos over the area. However, no Salmson was in sight and twelve enemy aircraft attacked the 22d. During the ensuing combat no squadron aircraft were lost, but several pilots returned with heavily damaged aircraft.[2]

22d Aero Squadron aircraft at Belrain Aerodrome, France

On September 22, the squadron moved to Belrain Aerodrome. At Toul, the quarters had been comfortable and convenient with adequate transportation for leaves to such places as Nancy or Toul. But for the next month, the main satisfaction of being an aviator, living outside the muck of battle after the day's fighting, was taken away. Billets in Prie-la-Brulee and Belrain were offered, supplemented by shacks on the field.[2]

Captain Arthur Raymond Brooks with his SPAD S.XIII, making a forced landing after engine trouble at Belrain Aerodrome, France

On September 26, Lieuts. Hudson and Doolin were in a patrol of four of the Squadron's planes that were set upon by 13 Fokkers. After considerable maneuvering they reached the Allied lines safely and brought down one of the enemy in the running fight. On the same patrol, Lieut. Beane became separated from the others and shot down a Fokker that had just shot down another SPAD. Although in turn attacked by two more of the enemy, Lieut. Beane succeeded in eluding the offenders. Two days later, on the 28th, a "glorious dog-fight" took place over Montfaucon-d'Argonne with six victories for the Squadron's pilots and none for the Germans. Three biplanes and about a dozen case planes were sighted in excellent position below the groups of seven, resulting in 13 combats.[2]

That was the kind of work done by the 22d Aero Squadron, although it was not always so concentrated. The last patrol, led by Captain Bridgeman, went over the lines and bombed Stenay on November 6. The next day, the squadron moved "up" to keep up with the advance of First Army and moved to Souilly Aerodrome, however, owing to bad weather, no combat patrols were sent out before the Armistice on 11 November.[2]

Demobilization[edit]

Post-Armistice photo of squadron aircraft 15 in the snow at Souilly Aerodrome, France.

The record of the Squadron from August 6 to November 11 is quite remarkable. In spite of a late start, the "Shooting Stars" accounted for 43 official victories, against 34 of its nearest rival, the 139th Aero Squadron "Mercurios". Casualties were 12, including 4 known killed, two prisoners and six "missing in action". During 72 days of flying operations the Squadron conducted 956 sorties and 82 combats and achieved 43 (possibly 46) official victories. Several Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded and recommendations were made for the Medal of Honor.[2]

The AEF was very slow in returning its forces to the United States. The squadron remained at Souilly Aerodrome until January 29, 1919 when it moved to Grand Aerodrome, France, to help construct a new airfield. On April 18, 1919 orders were received from First Army for the squadron to report to the 1st Air Depot, Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome to turn in all of its supplies and equipment and it was relieved of duty with the AEF. The squadron's SPAD aircraft were delivered to the Air Service American Air Service Acceptance Park No. 1 at Orly Aerodrome to be returned to the French. There practically all of the pilots and observers were detached from the Squadron. [2][10]

Personnel at Colombey were subsequently assigned to the Commanding General, Services of Supply and ordered to report to the staging camp at LeMans, France. There, they awaited scheduling to report to one of the Base Ports in France for transport to the United States and subsequent demobilization. On May 22, the squadron moved to its port of embarkation, Brest.[2]

The 22d Aero Squadron (Pursuit), returned to New York City on June 14, its personnel were demobilized and returned to civilian life, and the squadron was inactivated at Hazelhurst Field, Long Island, on June 17, 1919.[2]

In April 1937 the inactivated squadron was re-constituted administratively, with its lineage and history being consolidated with those of the United States Army Air Corps 22d Observation Squadron. The current United States Air Force unit that holds its lineage and history is the 22d Intelligence Squadron, assigned to the 707th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.[11]

Lineage[edit]

  • Organized as 17th Aero Squadron on June 16, 1917
Re-designated as: 22d Aero Squadron on June 20, 1917
Re-designated as: 22d Aero Squadron (Pursuit) on August 16, 1918
Demobilized on June 17, 1919[3]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Combat sectors and campaigns[edit]

Streamer Sector/Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer SOMME DEFENSIVE-2 1918 ARMY.png Somme Defensive Campaign March 21 – April 6, 1918 [12]
Amiens Sector April 7 –June 24, 1918 [12]
Toul Sector August 21 – September 11, 1918 [12]
Streamer ST. MIHIEL 1918 ARMY.png St. Mihiel Offensive Campaign September 12–16, 1918 [12]
Streamer MEUSE-ARGONNE 1918 ARMY.png Meuse-Argonne Offensive Campaign September 26 – November 11, 1918 [12]

Notable personnel[edit]

DSC: Distinguished Service Cross; SSC: Silver Star Citation; KIA: Killed in Action[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ a b Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918 Norman Franks, Frank W. Bailey. Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 0- 948817-54-2, ISBN 978-0-948817-54-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Series "E", Volume 9, History of the 22d-24th Aero Squadrons. Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. 
  4. ^ Series "H", Section "O", Volume 29, Weekly Statistical Reports of Air Service Activities, October 1918-May 1919. Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  5. ^ a b c Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, Series M, Volume 38, Compilation of Confirmed Victories and Losses of the AEF Air Service as of May 26, 1919
  6. ^ 22d Aero Squadron@www.theaerodrome.com
  7. ^ Maurer, Maurer (1978), The US Air Service in World War I, The Office of Air Force History, Headquarters USAF Washington
  8. ^ Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the First World War, Volume 3, Part 3, Center of Military History, United States Army, 1949 (1988 Reprint)
  9. ^ a b c A HISTORY OF THE 22nd AERO SQUADRON ~ “SHOOTING STARS”
  10. ^ Series "D", Weekly Statistical Reports of Air Service Activities, October 1918-May 1919. Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  11. ^ File:22d Intelligence Squadron.pdf AFHRA Lineage and Honors History of the 22d INTELLIGENCE SQUADRON (AIA), 23 Jan 1997.
  12. ^ a b c d e United States War Department (1920), Battle Participation of Organizations of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, Belgium and Italy, 1917–1919, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1920
  13. ^ Military Times Hall of Valor Search, 22d Aero Squadron

External links[edit]