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First Name: Douglas

Last Name: Campbell

Birthplace: San Francisco, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Service, U.S. Army (1918 - 1926)

Date of Birth: 07 June 1895

Date of Death: 16 October 1990

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served:
Douglas Campbell

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Douglas Campbell
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Service

Douglas Campbell was born on 7 June 1895 in San Francisco, CA. He was the son of famed astronomer William W. Campbell, the head of the Lick Observatory and future president of the University of California.

At the time the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, Douglas was a student at Harvard University and noted for his athletic prowess. Campbell and close friend Quentin Roosevelt, the son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, immediately dropped out of college and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Campbell later received an A.B., Harvard Class of 1917.

Military Service

Assigned to the Army Air Service, Campbell learned to fly in a Curtiss Jenny aircraft and was later trained in a Nieuport fighter. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the famous Pursuit 94th Aero Squadron (the "Hat in the ring" gang) - at this stage flying Nieuport 28 fighters. He was noted for several firsts in his service. He flew the squadron's first patrol along with two other famous aviators, Eddie Rickenbacker and Raoul Lufbery. Due to supply problems, the trio flew their first mission in unarmed planes. His first kill came while flying in an aircraft armed with only one, rather than the usual two, machine guns.

He shared credit with Lt. Alan F. Winslow for the squadron's first confirmed victories, which were the first victories by fighter aircraft of any American flying unit in the war. Campbell and Winslow each shot down and captured a pilot from Jasta 64w on 14 April 1918. He became the first American flying for an American unit to become an ace when he downed his fifth enemy aircraft on 31 May 1918 over Lironville, France.

Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery in aerial combat over Flirey, France on 19 May 1918. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm by the French military. He scored his sixth and final victory on 5 June 1918.

During this last action, Campbell was wounded by an exploding artillery shell and was sent back to the U.S. to recover from severe shrapnel injuries to his back. During his recuperation, he made appearances at numerous war bond rallies. Campbell hoped to return to combat and was reassigned to his squadron in November 1918. However, by then the war was winding down and he saw no further frontline action before the Armistice of 11 November 1918.

Post-Military Life

After WWI, he took a job with W.R. Grace and Company. He became the Vice-President of Pan-American Airways in 1939 and was named the airline's General Manager in 1948.

Death and Burial

Douglas Campbell died on 16 October 1990 in Greenwich, CT, at the age of 94. His cremated remains are interred in the Memorial Garden Wall at the Memorial Garden of First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich, CT.

Honoree ID: 2307   Created by: MHOH




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