December 1st, 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the death of my great uncle – my maternal grandmother’s brother. She was Katherine Vernam, he was Remington de Bremont Vernam.
He was an American of French descent who enlisted in the French Air Service as a pilot in World War I. He was transferred to the American service when we entered the war.
He is a Flying Ace, having shot down 3 balloons and 3 planes. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
“The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Remington D. B. Vernam, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Buzancy, France, October 10, 1918. Successively attacking two enemy balloons, which were moored to their nests, Lieutenant Vernam displayed the highest degree of daring. He executed his task despite the fact that several enemy planes were above him, descending to an altitude of less than ten meters when five miles within the enemy lines. His well-directed fire caused both balloons to burst into flames.”
He was shot down on October 30th, 1918, less than 2 weeks before the end of the war. He died of his injuries on December 1st, 1918. He was only 22.