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1st Lt. William P. Erwin

Distinguished Service Cross

ERWIN, WILLIAM P.
First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army
Pilot, 1st Aero Squadron, Air Service, A.E.F.
Date of Action: November 5, 1918


Citation:


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William P. Erwin, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Sedan, France, November 5, 1918. Against the advice of experienced officers Lieutenant Erwin undertook a reconnaissance flight in the face of atmospheric conditions that rendered flying most dangerous. In order that his observer might gain the necessary information, he was forced to fly at a perilously low altitude, and was subject to continuous anti-aircraft and rifle fire. When information gained on the flight had been dropped at division headquarters, he circled and returned over the enemy lines, although on the first reconnaissance mission his plane had been repeatedly hit by bullets. Penetrating far into enemy territory, he maneuvered most skillfully, and with shells bursting near him, flew low while his observer poured deadly fire upon machine-gun nests that had been holding up the advance of our troops. When his machine was crippled by enemy fire, he displayed exceptional skill in effecting a landing upon rocky land within the enemy lines. With his observer, he beat off repeated enemy attacks and fought his way back to the American lines, with information of vital importance to our troops.


General Orders 70, W.D., 1919
Birth: 10/18/1895 - Ryan, OK
Home Town: Chicago, IL
Other Award: Distinguished Service Cross (WWI)


1st Lt. William P. Erwin


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