First combat air patrol 1917

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Tellier seaplane, notice the 47mm Hotchkiss in the nose of the boat for anti-submarine use.

On 22 November 1917, a Tellier seaplane flown by a naval aviator, Ensign Kenneth R. Smith, was forced down at sea on his flight out of Naval Air Station LeCroisic at the mouth of the Loire River to investigate a report of German submarines south of Belle Isle.  Two days later and minutes before his aircraft sank, he and his crew of two were rescued by a French destroyer. This was the first combat air patrol by a United States Naval Aviator.

Le Croisic is located on the lower left and Belle Island is 30 miles west.

Smith was a 1917 graduate of Yale University and member of the First Yale Unit. Later as Lieutenant Smith, he would receive a Navy Cross for his skill in attacking and damaging a German submarine off France in April 1918.

Click here to read the original New York Times article on their rescue…

Click here to read about his attack on the German submarine in 1918…

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