ABMC assumes ownership of Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) officially assumed ownership and responsibility for the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery (LEMC) on January 9, 2017, making it the 9th commemorative World War One cemetery administered by the agency. ABMC Chairman Merrill A. McPeak, former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, joined Alex Blumrosen, president of the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Foundation, in a special ceremony in Paris to complete the transfer.
LEMC commemorates the birthplace of American combat aviation, and serves as a symbol of the Franco-American comradeship during World War One.
“The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place for brave airmen who gave their lives in one of the most pivotal wars of the twentieth century,” McPeak said. “It’s fitting that ABMC, whose mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces, assume responsibility for preserving this historic site honoring America’s pioneering combat airmen.”
More than 200 Americans flew with French squadrons during the course of the war. Of this number, only 38 were assigned to the Lafayette Escadrille. (The term escadrille means squadron in French.) The rest served in other French flying units. Collectively, all Americans in the French Air Service, known as the Service Aéronautique, were considered to be part of the Lafayette Flying Corps, an unofficial designation. Many of these aviators transferred to American squadrons once the United States entered the war in April 1917.
Read the whole article on the ABMC web site here.
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