Wilbert  Wallace White, Jr.
Wilbert "Wilbur" Wallace White, Jr.
Wilbert "Wilbur" Wallace White, Jr.
  • Country: United States
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Service: United States Air Service
  • Units: 147th Aero
  • Victories: 8
  • Date Of Birth: May 1, 1889
  • Place of Birth: New York City
  • Date Of Death: October 10, 1918
  • Place of Death: Near Dun-sur-Meuse
  • Buried: Romagne Military Cemetery

White enlisted in the United States Air Service on July 3, 1917. Following flight training in Canada and Texas, he was assigned to the 147th Pursuit Squadron where he would become the squadron's highest scoring ace. After scoring seven confirmed victories, White received authorization to return to the United States.

On the afternoon of October 10, 1918, he chose to make one final patrol over the lines in his SPAD S.XIII. Encountering enemy aircraft, he observed a Fokker D.VII on the tail of a rookie pilot and turned to aid him. When his guns jammed, White rammed the Fokker with his plane. He was killed in the collision but his opponent, Wilhelm Kohlbach of Jasta 10, survived and was credited with his 5th victory over White's SPAD. For this action, White was posthumously recommended for the Medal of Honor but received an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross. White was the highest scoring ace in the 147th Pursuit Squadron.

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

"For extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Etain and Chambley, France, September 15, 1918. While protecting three Allied observation planes, in the region of Etain, Lt. White was attacked by three Halberstadt fighters. He engaged them immediately, successfully fighting them off and leading them all away from the observation planes, which were thus permitted to carry out their work unmolested. While returning home he dived through a cloud to attack an enemy balloon near Chambley, bringing it down in flames. Two Fokker scouts then attacked him and although he was alone, with intrepid courage, he attacked the first Fokker head-on, shooting until it went down into a vertical dive out of control. Pulling up sharply, he fired a long burst at the second Fokker as it went over him, putting it to immediate flight." DSC citation

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster

"In command of a patrol of four planes which was attacked by five German Fokkers, he attacked the enemy plane which was hard pressing a new pilot. The German Fokker had gotten on the tail of the American plane and was overtaking it. Lt. White's guns having jammed, he drove his plane head-on into the German Fokker, both crashing 500 meters below." DSC Oak Leaf Cluster citation

Croix de Guerre

"An exceedingly fine pilot whose courage and brilliant conduct have always been an example to his squadron. In the course of the July operations in 1918, he attacked balloons, forcing them to come down and fired his machine guns at troops on the ground in spite of violent machine gun fire. On July 24, he attacked alone two enemy planes and brought one down." Croix de Guerre citation, July 1918