Frank Luke Jr.
Frank Luke Jr.
Frank Luke Jr.
  • Country: United States
  • Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
  • Service: United States Air Service
  • Units: 27th Aero (Eagle)
  • Victories: 18
  • Date Of Birth: May 19, 1897
  • Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Date Of Death: September 29, 1918
  • Place of Death: Near Murvaux
  • Buried: Romagne Military Cemetery

Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, Frank Luke was the leading ace in the United States Air Service at the time of his death. After aerial combat training at Issoudun, France, Luke was assigned to the 27th Pursuit Squadron under Harold Hartney on July 25, 1918. Often flying alone or with his sidekick Joseph Wehner, Luke shot down 18 enemy balloons and planes in 17 days before he was killed in action. After flaming three German balloons on September 29, 1918, his SPAD S.XIII was shot down by ground fire. Resisting capture, he shot it out with approaching German soldiers and was killed near the crash site. After the war, Luke's remains were reburied at the Romagne Military Cemetery. Luke Air Force Base was named in his honor.

Medal of Honor

"After having previously destroyed a number of enemy aircraft within 17 days he voluntarily started on a patrol after German observation balloons. Though pursued by 8 German planes which were protecting the enemy balloon line, he unhesitatingly attacked and shot down in flames 3 German balloons, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and the hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended to within 50 meters of the ground, and flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux opened fire upon enemy troops, killing 6 and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest." Medal of Honor citation