Kiffin Rockwell Lafayette Flying Corps certificate of recognition, 1918
From the Collection: 0.5 cubic feet (oversized case)
Biographical / Historical
Kiffin Yates Rockwell attended VMI in 1909. During World War I he was accepted by the Service Aeronautique, began flight training in September 1915 and in April became one of the founding pilots in the squadron initially known as the Escadrille Americaine (later called the Lafayette Escadrille). In May 1916, while on patrol at the front, he became the first American pilot to down an enemy plane. Rockwell subsequently flew dozens of patrols and fought in many air battles, gaining fame for his skill and courage. His final combat took place on September 23, 1916, when his Nieuport was downed by the gunner in a German Albatross observation plane. Rockwell is buried in the cemetery at Luxeuil-les-Bains, France.