America entered World War I in 1917. Now we honor the centennial of this significant decision, as well as the sacrifices and valor of soldiers and sailors that served in this horrific conflict. Dr. Thomas Allen will discuss the life and legacy of one of this period’s most famous heroes, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 21, at the Allen Public Library.
Capt. Rickenbacker shot down 26 German planes, the American record until World War II. Taking out several of Germany's formidable fighter aircraft, the Fokker D. VII, Capt. Rickenbacker secured his role as a famed World War One ace. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross a record eight times, Captain Rickenbacker was also presented the Legion of Honor and the Croiz de Guerre by France.
Capt. Rickenbacker described his World War I flying experiences in his memoirs, Fighting the Flying Circus. In this account, he describes the character, exploits, and death of fellow pilot Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
Eleven years after the Wright Brothers made aviation history at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, in 1903, the introduction of airplanes into warfare dramatically altered military strategies. First, airplanes increased intelligence capabilities. But of even more significance, once machine guns were installed on them battles could be pursued in the air.
Dr. Thomas Allen is the University Archivist with the Special Collections Department of The Eugene McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Holding a Ph.D. in Public Administration from The University of Texas at Dallas and a Masters in Library Science (with an emphasis in Special Collection), Dr. Allen formerly processed prominent pieces of military history at UTD’s Special Collections Department. Now, he collects and catalogs materials crucial to the University’s history.
Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214-509-4911 for more information.