American Club former president Joe Smallhoover, representing Democrat’s Abroad, and American Club member Neil Kearney, President of AARO with current ACP President Christine Leonard and Treasurer Christophe Korfer, Alex Blumrosen, President of the Lafayette Escadrlle Memorial Foundation were in attendance at the Memorial commemoration of the end of WWI. Also present was ACP member Nancy Thomas (not in photo). Photo taken by ACP member Françoise Rouane-Kearney.
The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial commemorates the volunteer American pilots who gave their lives during World War I, under French colors, before the entry of the United States in the War. The Lafayette Escadrille became an active unit of the French Air Service on April 20, 1916, almost a full year before the US Congress declared war on April 6, 1917.
More than 250 American pilots fought with the French Air Service before the United States joined the war, either in existing squadrons with French pilots, or as one of the 38 pilots who flew in the all-American Lafayette Escadrille squadron. The Memorialcommemorates the courage and the sacrifice of all these American pilots who came to France before April 1917, collectively called the “Lafayette Flying Corps”.
The 68 members of the Lafayette Escadrille and the La Fayette Flying Corps who died in WWI, or after the war as a result of their wounds, are buried in the crypt located under the central arch of the Memorial. They lie in a broad semi-circle, each under a cenotaph bearing the pilot’s name and date of death. Their French commanders, Georges Thénault et Antonin Brocard, who died respectively in 1948 and 1950, wanted to be buried with their American comrades.
The monument is located in the Parc de Saint Cloud, in Marnes-la-Coquette, half-way between aris and Versailles. The monument is composed of a central monumental arch, half the height of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.