- USAF Academy Department of History
The Vivid Air: The Lafayette Escadrille
by Philip M. Flammer
The Vivid Air recreates the story of the famed Lafayette Escadrille, the American volunteer unit which fought with the French during World War I. A unique and elite squadron since its inception, the unit was destined for world renown even before it flew its first mission. Their role as the “vanguard of American volunteers” and the remarkably high caliber of the Lafayette Escadrille pilots easily set them apart and ignited the admiration of the world. The idealized glamour of aviation in the Great War, a direct consequence of the grim, heroless contest on the ground, highlighted combat flying and gave pilots a special place in the public imagination.
Yet when the war came to its tragic end, widespread appreciation for crusading idealism lay buried in the ruins, and with it the true story of the Lafayette Escadrille. Philip Flammer’s clear, fully documented study is the first complete scholarly account of this singular volunteer fighting unit, based on extensive research in Europe and the United States.