AIRCRAFT >> FIGHTERS >> Nieuports
SUBJECTS >> WAR >> WWI
Assigned to the Air Service, Douglas Campbell learned to fly in a Curtiss Jenny aircraft and was later trained in a Nieuport fighter. He was assigned to the famous Pursuit 94th Aero Squadron (the "Hat in the ring" gang) - at this stage flying Nieuport 28 fighters. He was noted for several firsts in his service. He flew the squadron's first patrol along with two other famous aviators, Eddie Rickenbacker and Raoul Lufbery. Due to supply problems, the trio flew their first mission in unarmed planes. His first kill came while flying in an aircraft armed with only one rather than the usual two machine guns
He shared credit with Lt. Alan F. Winslow for the squadron's first confirmed victories, which were the first victories by fighter aircraft of an American-trained flying unit in the war. Campbell and Winslow each shot down and captured a pilot from Jasta 64w on April 14, 1918. He became the second Air Service ace and the first by an American-trained aviator when he downed his fifth enemy aircraft over Lironville, France on May 31, 1918.
Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery in aerial combat over Flirey, France on May 19, 1918. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre avec palme by the French military. He scored his sixth and final victory on June 5, 1918.
During this last action, Campbell was wounded by an exploding artillery shell and was sent back to the United States to recover from severe shrapnel injuries to his back. During his recuperation, he made appearances at numerous war bond rallies. Campbell hoped to return to combat and was reassigned to his squadron in November 1918. By then however the war was winding down and he saw no further frontline action before the Armistice of November 11, 1918.