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F EBRUARY 7 The Joint Army-Navy Technical Board is created in light of the need to standardize instrumentation between Army and Navy aircraft. S. Army aircraft changes from a white star to concentric circles of red and blue around white. FEBRUARY 16 In France, the 2nd Balloon Company deploys at Royamieux in the Toul sector of the Western Front; during the war, the Balloon Section makes 5,866 ascents (for a total of 6,832 hours in the air) for reconnaissance and artillery spotting purposes. 1918 23 Rickenbacker, Eddie (1890–1973) Army Air Service pilot.
J ULY 25 At Saints, France, Lieutenant Frank Luke, soon to gain renown as America’s “Balloon Buster,” arrives with a group of replacement pilots for the 27th Aero Squadron. 26 1918 AUGUST 2 At Ourches, France, a formation of 18 DH-4 bombers from the 135th Observation Squadron completes a mission to and from their aerodrome. This action represents the combat debut of American-built warplanes. AUGUST 7 In France, Chief of Air Service Colonel William “Billy” Mitchell requests the G-2 staff to provide him with targeting intelligence with respect to enemy airdromes, troop concentrations, and transportation choke points such as road intersections and railway stations.
Winslow and Douglas Campbell of the 94th Squadron are the first army combat pilots to shoot down German aircraft; they are flying French-built Nieuport 28s. In France, the first shipment of American-built Liberty engines arrives at Pauillac. A PRIL 29 Over Toul, France, Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker assists downing a German Albatros scout craft and receives half credit for the kill. A former racecar driver, he originally reached France as General John J. Pershing’s chauffeur, but volunteered for combat.