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Victor Emmanuel Chapman

Lafayette Escadrille

Sergeant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

New York

Died:

6/16/1916

Grave Location:

Plot D, Row 1, Grave 33

Sgt. Victor E. Chapman was the first American pilot to die in the war, and the only member of the Lafayette Flying Corps to be interred at an American overseas military cemetery.

Son of American essayist John Jay Chapman, nephew of U.S. congressman William A. Chanler, and great-great grandson of John Jay, first U.S. Chief Justice, Chapman heard the call of duty loud and clear when the war began. Chapman volunteered to fight with the French and British before the official entry into the war by the US.

He was one of the founding members of the Escadrille Américaine. The name was changed to Escadrille Lafayette following German protests of American neutrality in 1916.

Chapman was killed flying in a non-combat mission from his base at Behonne, near Bar-le-Duc. He was delivering fresh oranges to another American pilot at the evacuation hospital at Vadelaincourt, near Verdun.

Awards: French Medaille Militaire and French Croix de Guerre

Victor Emmanuel Chapman is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Plot D, Row 1, Grave 33.