View Full Version : FYI-Eugene Jacques Bullard - Only Black WW1 Pilot

09-05-2006, 10:26 PM
I read about the flyboys trailer and people saying there weren't any black pilots. So, I decided to find out. There was 1 (flew for France).


Eugene Jacques Bullard

Of more than 200 Americans who flew for France during WWI, one of particular uniqueness was Eugene Bullard, the only Black pilot of WWI. A great tribute to Bullard is found in the famous book by Nordhoff and Hall, The Lafayette Flying Corps, published in 1920.

"The writer will never forget one occasion when he was waiting at 23 Avenue du Bois to see Dr. Gros. Suddenly the door opened to admit a vision of military splendor such as one does not see twice in a lifetime. It was Eugene Bullard.

His jolly black face shone with a grin of greeting and justifiable vanity. He wore a pair of tan aviator's boots which gleamed with a mirror-like luster, and above his breeches smote the eye with a dash of vivid scarlet. His black tunic, excellently cut and set off by a fine figure, was decorated with a pilot's badge, a Croix de Guerre, the fourragere of the Foreign Legion, and a pair of enormous wings, which left no possible doubt, even at a distance of fifty feet, as to which arm of the Service he adorned. The eleces-pilotes gasped, the eyes of the neophytes stood out from their heads, and I repressed a strong instinct to stand at attention.

There was scarcely an American at Atord who did not know and like Bullard. He was a brave, loyal, and thoroughly likable fellow, and when a quarrel with one of his superiors caused his withdrawl from the Aviation, there was scarcely an American who did not regret the fact. He was sent to the 170th French Infantry Regiment in January, 1918..."

Following WWI, Bullard remained in France until the German occupation of Paris in 1940, at which time he had to flee the country because of his previous activities of spying against the Nazis. He returned to the U.S. and lived in New York City until his death in 1961. Thus passed from the scene the first black pilot in the history of military aviation.

* Bullard's Medals
* The cover of The Black Swallow of Death a book about Bullard.

At the dawn of World War I, he joined the French Foreign Legion, engaging in hand-to-hand combat in some of the most hotly contested battles of the war. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Verdun. Undaunted, following his recovery, he requested a transfer to the French Flying Corps. On May 7, 1917 Eugene Jacques Bullard became the world's first African American fighter pilot. In his distinguished career he flew 20 missions against the German forces, fought in numerous "dog fights" and shot down at least five enemy aircraft - which certified him as an "Ace". He received France's highest awards, the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d' Honneur. He was championed as a national hero.

When the United States entered the war, Bullard attempted to join the U.S. Army Air Corps, but was rejected because African Americans were barred from flying at that time. France also disappointed him by proving not to be as egalitarian as his father had led him to believe. He was not given promotion appropriate to his status because of the reluctance to have an African American in command of whites.

09-05-2006, 11:46 PM
jacques eugene bullard:

extra large, 1200x1800 pic her:

his medals:

extra large, 1900x900 pic here:

09-06-2006, 03:07 AM
Surely that's a guy worth making a movie about!!!