Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr.
On 29 September 1918, Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., of the United States Army’s 27th Aero Squadron, flew over an American balloon squadron dropping a note, “Watch for burning (German) balloons” just beyond the German lines. As predicted, observers saw the three explosions of three balloons. Luke did not return. It was not until after the war that a grave’s registration unit learned the conclusion of Luke’s “3-kill” attack.
After destroying the third balloon, Luke was wounded and his Spad was so shot-up that he could barely control it. Nevertheless, he maneuvered his airplane to strafe German infantry columns. He crash-landed and was immediately surrounded by Germans. Rather than surrender, he drew his .45 automatic pistol and started firing at the Germans. They returned his fire, killing Luke immediately. Frank Luke was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously.