d. July 1926
First U.S. Aero Squadron, known as "Pershing's Shock Squadron"
First American Army
From a letter sent to his parents dated 8:30 p.m., September 13, 1918, and published in The Review on October 23, 1918.
“Well, I suppose you have read that we pushed out the St. Mihiel Salient, that the French have been trying to do, and I hope you are justly proud of the American Army (because I am). I flew over the infantry and directed their movements for the first two hours of the show — that is after daylight — it began at 5:30, and then another ship came up and relieved me. We flew infantry liaison and thought we were going to be shot up by the Huns, but they were moving back, or being taken prisoner so quickly, that their machine guns on the ground didn’t get a chance at us, and we had so many ships in the air that they hadn’t a show at us from the top. So it was great fun shooting up roads and things. One of the boys saw the Americans advancing along the road. About half a mile ahead of them some Huns were retreating with four wagons, loaded with supplies of some kind. There were about thirty Huns in the party. Our pilot came down to fifty feet, and he and his observer drove them into their dugouts on the side of the road, and kept circling over them, and firing down until the Yanks got up and captured them. I and my observer saw a two gun battery in a field and drove on them, and put them out of business. We kept at them until the crews deserted the guns and beat it, some of them on artillery horses. We followed those, driving on them and shot one off his horse, and the others jumped off and beat for the woods and we lost them. Take it all in all; we had a great time going after them. They offered practically no resistance. Lots of companies surrendered without a fight. We flew over one company that was just sitting there waiting for the Yanks to get up to them, to let themselves be taken. They say they are tired of the war, and glad to be prisoners. Our artillery has kept them on the run. There are some big guns near us and every time they fire — every 15 minutes, day and night — the windows rattle and the whole building shakes from it.
I had a forced landing — motor died — behind the lines today, and met a friend of mine, Al MacDonald. He came across the field and nearly collapsed when he saw me.
In many of the towns that we have liberated, the inhabitants didn’t know we were in the war. When we came into the towns, they asked us what army we belonged to. Some foxy guys those Huns. But they know it now. So far, this shove is a cinch, compared to the Marne. Well, I am going to bed, may have lots of work tomorrow.”
In the photo above from left to right: Irving, Leila and Leonard Morange, 1917