War Bird Ace
The Great War Exploits of Capt. Field E. Kindley
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Series: C. A. Brannen Series
Title Page, Copyright Page
Jack Ballard’s War Bird Ace chronicles the exploits of one of America’s great, and relatively unknown, World War I aces. The fourth-ranking air ace of World War I, Kindley was killed in an air crash at only twenty-three years of age. Author Jack Ballard grew up in Gravette, Arkansas, Kindley’s hometown, and for many years was fascinated by the exploits of the young ...
New books and articles about World War I, the so-called “Great War” and the “War to End All Wars,” continue to appear. To the historian, more information seems to materialize even when the subject appears to have reached a state of exhaustion. Clearly, new interpretations and insights come from renewed examination of old accounts, data, and ...
1. The Early Years
By the spring of 1917, the worldwide conflict with its deadly new weapons, such as the machine gun, produced heavy casualties in mass attacks by troops on both sides. As a consequence, the war ground to a stalemate on the Western Front, the German-French boundary. From the English Channel to the Alps, trench warfare dominated. Troops endured horrible ...
2. Training for the Big Show
It no doubt was the first time he had visited a major university, and certainly he must have been impressed and perhaps eager to explore this new environment. His time there, however, was not to be a relaxed introduction to academia. The School of Military Aeronautics, established to provide ground training for World War I pilots, required long hours and concentrated study. ...
3. Ferrying Aircraft
The father presumed that Field had gone to France and with some resignation to that thought added strong patriotic comments. “The bloody Kaiser has forced death to so many. . . . If Field could only be the one of thousands who may be fortunate to cast a ton of explosives on the head of the tyrant I shall be satisfied and die believing that my life has been well spent.” ...
4. First Combat
... by the new American pilots, they had been totally equipped by the British as well as completely trained by the RAF. In typical action, Lieutenant Kindley received orders first to the 65th Squadron of the Royal Air Force in France and later moved to the 148th American pursuit squadron at the northern British front. ...
5. Four Victories
It was nearly 10:30 P.M. as he pulled his baggage off the truck. He had just turned to shake hands with one of his “old Yankee friends” when he heard a whizzing and then a large explosion. A faint hum of an engine could be heard, and it was obvious that “Fritz” was overhead. It sounded as if he was headed ...
6. Becoming an Air Ace
The correspondence flow from the Philippines to France and vice versa must have taken a long time indeed. George C. Kindley, Field’s father, writing on August 19, 1918, from Malaybalay, acknowledged Field’s letter of June 4. “You don’t know dear boy how proud I am of you at this time,” he wrote. “I am so pleased to know you are doing ...
7. The Postwar Experience
As has been noted, he had expressed concern about his fraying nerves and wished for a break in his combat flying. It seems highly possible that if Kindley’s move to Toul and the process of transition to a new aircraft had not occurred, he might have been on that psychological downward spiral wherein that dreaded one last ...
8. Return to the United States
The New York newspaper went on to say, “Captain F. E. Kindley, next to ‘Eddie’ Rickenbacker, America’s greatest ace, returned yesterday on the transport Tiger, which brought 2,546 troops into port. Captain Kindley, who is officially credited with downing twelve German planes, was in command of the 141st Aero Squadron ...
9. Fallen Aerial Warrior
Once again, his hometown celebrated his arrival. At one point he was honored by the citizens with the presentation of a “handsome gold watch.” One young townsman remembered his very shiny brown boots.1 Others were impressed with his modesty and his military bearing. During his short stay there he expressed the wish to bring his father back from the Philippines to join him and perhaps to ...
Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 35 b&w photos. 4 maps.
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: C. A. Brannen Series
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