We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Lost Eagles

One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars

Blaine Pardoe

Publication Year: 2011

Praise for Lost Eagles "The pilot and observer stories selected have not previously seen much exposure. Not only are they interesting, but I found myself relishing getting to the next chapter to find out what Frederick Zinn was doing during the next stage of his life." ---Alan Roesler, founding member, League of World War I Aviation Historians, and former Managing Editor, Over the Front Praise for Blaine Pardoe's previous military histories (which average 4.5-star customer reviews on Amazon.com): Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I "This painstaking biography of World War I ace Frank Luke will earn Pardoe kudos . . . Pardoe has flown a very straight course in researching and recounting Luke's myth-ridden life. . . . Thorough annotation makes the book that much more valuable to WWI aviation scholars as well as for more casual air-combat buffs." ---Booklist The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate "This is a gem of a story, well told, and nicely laid out with photos, maps, and charts that cleverly illuminate the lost era of ‘gentlemen pirates' at sea . . . [German commerce raider Felix von Luckner's] legend lives on in this lively and readable biography." ---Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy, Naval History Few people have ever heard of Frederick Zinn, yet even today airmen's families are touched by this man and the work he performed in both world wars. Zinn created the techniques still in use to determine the final fate of airmen missing in action. The last line of the Air Force Creed reads, "We will leave no airman behind." Zinn made that promise possible. Blaine Pardoe weaves together the complex story of a man who brought peace and closure to countless families who lost airmen during both world wars. His lasting contribution to warfare was a combination of his methodology for locating the remains of missing pilots (known as the Zinn system) and his innovation of imprinting all aircraft parts with the same serial number so that if a wreck was located, the crewman could be identified. The tradition he established for seeking and recovering airmen is carried on to this day. Blaine Pardoe is an accomplished author who has published dozens of military fiction novels and other books, including the widely acclaimed Cubicle Warfare: Self-Defense Tactics for Today's Hypercompetitive Workplace; Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I; and The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate. Jacket photo: Frederick Zinn's Sopwith aircraft, which crashed during World War I. National Museum of the United States Air Force Archives.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page and Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (88.2 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (60.6 KB)
pp. 1-6

As an author you sometimes are granted the privilege of ensuring that some of our priceless history is not lost. Such is the case with Frederick W. Zinn. It is a story of how our nation treats its honored dead. How our military helps families come to terms with their loss speaks volumes about who we are as a people. The quest to locate and bring h...

read more

Kenyon Roper

pdf iconDownload PDF (101.7 KB)
pp. 7-15

Captain Frederick Zinn entered the area between the French villages of Tronville and Puxieux, and it was eerily reminiscent of what he had seen since his time in the French Foreign Legion in 1914; once quaint French villages were torn and battered by the ravages of war. Even though the Great War had been over for four months, it was still too early...

read more

Chapter 1: The Zinns of Galesburg . . .

pdf iconDownload PDF (81.9 KB)
pp. 16-23

Galesburg, Michigan, was an unremarkable wide spot on the railroad line between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo in 1892. If not for the railroad, it probably wouldn’t have existed at all. The railroad was an important link between Chicago and Detroit, where many of the goods and foods...

read more

Alvin Treadwell

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.9 KB)
pp. 24-27

Alvin Hill Treadwell came from a well-to-do family. His father Aaron was originally from Redding, Connecticut, the son of a farmer. Aaron went to college and became a professor, teaching ‹rst in Ohio and then settling at the prestigious Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where...

read more

Chapter 2: Number 5626

pdf iconDownload PDF (86.3 KB)
pp. 28-36

It was called the “Great War” until September of 1939, when it earned the moniker of “World War I.” While World War II eclipsed the death and destruction, for those veterans of the Great War it would always be seen as a more horri‹c confrontation. It brought about an incredible...

read more

Cyrus Gatton

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.2 KB)
pp. 37-42

Gatton was born in Iowa, but his family moved to Bozeman, Montana, in 1908. He was a star athlete at Gallatin County High School and held the state high jump record. Cy was a pure athlete, leading his high school football and track teams to championships during his years...

read more

Chapter 3: Zinn of the Foreign Legion

pdf iconDownload PDF (158.4 KB)
pp. 43-61

Fred was wrapping himself in the bohemian lifestyle of a member of the Foreign Legion. He grew a broad mustache and dressed the full part of a legionnaire. Fred found life in the legion trying, but like most men he found friends among his American comrades. The Americans in the Foreign...

read more

Roswell Fuller

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.9 KB)
pp. 62-65

Roswell “Roz” Hayes Fuller was an energetic go-getter, exactly the kind of man that the U.S. Army Air Service wanted. His family line had a history of service to the country; one of his relatives was the Revolutionary War hero, Sidney Breese. As a young boy he enjoyed wearing a uniform,...

read more

Chapter 4: Zinn of the French Air Service

pdf iconDownload PDF (273.0 KB)
pp. 66-86

Almost from the start of the war Americans in France had an interest in serving in the French Air Service. There were a lot of reasons for this. Death in the trenches was random; mortar or artillery shells rained down constantly and randomly snuffed out the lives of men huddled in...

read more

Lester Harter

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.9 KB)
pp. 87-90

Lester Harter came from a family in the heartland of America. He was born on the family farm in Stockham, Nebraska, on January 9, 1890. His parents, Jacob and Ester, had ten children, and Lester was the youngest. He graduated from Aurora High School in 1911 and for a short time...

read more

Chapter 5: Zinn of the U.S. Army Air Service

pdf iconDownload PDF (143.2 KB)
pp. 91-104

America had been resisting joining the ‹ghting in Europe since the start of the Great War. One chief reason is that it was pro‹ting from the war without the risks of being involved in the fighting. As a neutral power, the United States sold munitions and weapons to any government that...

read more

Phillip E. Hassinger

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.2 KB)
pp. 105-108

At six foot ‹ve and a quarter, Phillip “Phil” Hassinger was tall by the standards of the U.S. Army Air Service. He lived on Broadway in New York City. He enlisted in August of 1917, ‹ve months after the United States declared war on Germany. First Lieutenant Hassinger was assigned...

read more

Chapter 6: Zinn the Searcher

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.4 KB)
pp. 109-124

Captain Zinn’s appointment to the Berlin Commission at the end of the war was an open-ended assignment. His proposal had been worded vaguely enough to give him a great deal of latitude. He proposed that the two hundred missing American airmen could be found and that he...

read more

Lyman Case

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.4 KB)
pp. 125-128

Many of the early aviators in France served in the French Air Service as Fred Zinn had, training either in French units or as part of the Lafayette Flying Corps. Others were attached to service in the Royal Flying Corps or worked in conjunction with the British forces. Such was the case of...

read more

Chapter 7: Citizen Zinn

pdf iconDownload PDF (96.2 KB)
pp. 129-136

Battle Creek and Galesburg’s most famous soldier and airman returned with no pomp and circumstance. The parades for the returning soldiers at Camp Custer and in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo had passed months earlier. Americans did what they have done after so many wars; they put...

read more

Victor Chapman

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.9 KB)
pp. 137-141

It was February 1919 when Fred Zinn received the notice from American infantry roaming the already decaying battle‹elds that they had come across the burial site of an airman that was buried near Chaumont just north of Verdun. When Fred saw the name of the airman that was allegedly...

read more

Chapter 8: Zinn the Patriot

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.8 KB)
pp. 142-151

Not everyone was on the isolationist bandwagon. This was especially true of those men that had fought for France during the Great War. The former members of the Foreign Legion and Lafayette Flying Corps saw the war as something that could not be ignored. While most hoped that...

read more

Raymond Parker

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.1 KB)
pp. 152-154

Raymond Parker was born in Champaign, Illinois, on April 29, 1893. The son of a traveling salesman, he came from a small family with only one sibling, his sister Cora. His fascination with electricity led him to enroll in the University of Illinois to study electrical engineering. He was a...

read more

Chapter 9: Zinn the Spy

pdf iconDownload PDF (135.8 KB)
pp. 155-170

Frederick Zinn’s journey into the world of counterespionage started out with good intentions. Fred had been a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, but the army offered him a chance to come in as a major attached to the OSS. Fred turned down the offer. Instead Fred proposed coming in as a...

read more

William Hester

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.2 KB)
pp. 171-173

William Kelly Hester had a promising aviation career until August of 1943. He was a graduate, with honors, of the Oklahoma Military Academy— referred to often as the “West Point of the West.” In 1941, months before the United States was drawn into the con›ict, he had earned his...

read more

Chapter 10: Zinn the Veteran

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.9 KB)
pp. 174-178

Fred’s son, Richard “Bud” Zinn, was in Europe at the same time as his father. At twenty years of age, Bud was not involved with aviation despite his piloting license and the family history. Instead he was a private ‹rst class attached to Company E of the 129th Tank Destroyers based out of...

read more

Emile Jack Selig Jr.

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.5 KB)
pp. 179-183

Emile Jack Selig Jr. was a short, stocky, brown-haired young man from Louisiana. His father was a successful local businessman and Jack, as he was known, was highly energetic and personable. He graduated from Neville High School in Monroe City, Louisiana, and Northeast Junior...

read more

Chapter 11: Zinn the Politician

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.1 KB)
pp. 184-189

Frank Zinn, Fred’s brother, had borne a burden far different from Fred’s travels abroad. During the Great War he and brother Donald had been left behind with their father August to manage the mill operations in Galesburg and Battle Creek. Frank witnessed the horrible strain and...

read more

John F. Merrill

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.4 KB)
pp. 190-192

First Lieutenant John Franklin Merrill of the 28th Aero Squadron was leading the dawn patrol, rolling out of the aerodrome at 6:15. Merrill was an ordinary man, a face that easily blended in with a crowd, with dark, almost black hair. His parents were divorced, with his father living...

read more

Chapter 12: Zinn into the Twilight

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.6 KB)
pp. 193-198

Still somewhat stinging from his political defeat, Fred Zinn faced 1957 with some degree of trepidation. His father, August, had died during the previous year at the age of ninety-one. Up until the last two weeks of his life he worked out of the Battle Creek of‹ces of the Transit Warehouse...

read more

Howard I. Kinne and John N. McElroy

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.1 KB)
pp. 199-202

Captain Lyle S. Powell, the commanding officer of the 99th Aero Squadron, had time on his hands in April of 1919. With the war over his squadron had suddenly found itself in peacetime Europe. They were an observation squadron with no observation that was necessary. The sudden...

read more

Final Fates

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.0 KB)
pp. 203-211

This book has told the story of a number of airmen from two world wars. Their stories did not end with the ‹nding of their remains or their personal possessions. Many of them had stories that live on today. These ‹nal fates are meant to show the lasting impact of some of these men, as...

read more

The Zinn Records

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.8 KB)
pp. 213-215

The contents of the National Museum of the United States Air Force’s collection on Frederick W. Zinn are a treasure trove for researchers of World War I aviators. The documents contain detailed information on some men, whereas others are mentioned in only a line or two....


pdf iconDownload PDF (122.3 KB)
pp. 217-235


pdf iconDownload PDF (80.6 KB)
pp. 237-245

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (43.3 KB)
pp. 247-248

This book would not have been possible without the help of Jean Armstrong of the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. Jean is a relentless researcher and helped uncover some wonderful articles and sources that normally would never have been located and included in this book....


pdf iconDownload PDF (70.4 KB)
pp. 249-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780472027873
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472117529

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Missing in action -- Identification.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Missing in action -- Identification.
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Aerial operations, American.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, American.
  • Airmen -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Zinn, Frederick Wilhelm, 1892-1960.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access