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Earnest Groves Wold

Submitted by: Pat Mosites, Employee at Minneapolis International Airport-airfield named in his honor Wold-Chamberlain Field

5aeb7f834f5a8 ernest g wold ca 1916

Earnest Groves Wold was born around 1897. Earnest Wold served in World War 1 with the Lafayette Escadrille. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


Ernest Groves Wold, served as a reconnaissance pilot in France’s First Aero Squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille, during World War I. Wold’s exceptional coolness and accuracy of fire enabled him to crisscross enemy lines four times on August 1, 1918, photographing German positions and forcing down at least two of five attacking German aircraft.

After machine gun bullets riddled his arms and killed his observer-photographer, Wold piloted his disabled plane back to base, flying with his feet and knees. He died in the crash landing, but his photographs safely reached French forces.

Five years later when the primitive “Speedway Airport” in south Minneapolis was about to be expanded and used for commercial and passenger traffic, it was decided that the new name for the facility should be Wold-Chamberlain Twin City Airport in honor of two war heroes, Ernest Groves Wold and Cyrus Foss Chamberlain. He rests at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

Reprint from Pennyslvannia Gazette January 3, 1919:

Lieut. Ernest G. Wold

He lost his lift in a fight over the German lines on August 1st and fills an honored grave in Coincy . France, marked by the broker. blades of his propeller . Flying with Observer James C Wooten. taking photographs of the German front. Lieut \\'old 's machine was attacked by five enemy planes. For a time he outmaneuvered ar.d outfought them and started fm his own lines when both he and his observer were wounded by shrapnel from enemy guns.

Despite the injury Lieut. Wold was able to regain the line and his own airdrome. Both Lieut. Wold and Observe1 Wooten were unconscious when reached by their friends. and both died of their wounds. The air battle occurred north of Chateau Thierry at Fertn Tardenois. A description of it was received through the parents of young Wooten, who was a student at the University of Wisconsin.

There can be no doubt but the young American gave battle royal against great odds and that Lieut. Wold accomplished wonders in making the landing after being fatally wounded.

He rests in a beautiful cemetery at Coincy, after a burial with full military honor. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Theo­dore Wold, 1779 Emerson Ave. S., Winona, Minnesota, and would have reached his twenty-second birthday Sept. 11.

He was a graduate of West High School and had entered the Wharton School, from which he would have graduated in 1919. At the end of his second year he enlisted and was recommended for first lieutenancy in infantry in the First Officers' Training Camp at Fort Niagara. Two weeks before the end of the course he transferred to aviation, taking the ground school work at Cornell University, Ithaca, N . Y. He became very proficient in flying. gunnery and various branches of aviation in France.

Just previous to the battle in which he met his death he established an altitude record and had been giving exhibitions before French officers because of his wonderful ability in flight.

5aeb7f834fb3a ernest g wold ca 1916 2

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