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David Peterson

Major David McKelvey Peterson was a Lehigh University graduate who was a World War I flying ace with 6 victories earned in the Lafayette Escadrille and the United States Army Air Service. Born in Honesdale, PA on July 02, 1894, he was killed in an aviation accident following the war in Daytona Beach, Florida on March 16, 1919.

He was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses. The citation for the first was:

"For extraordinary heroism in action near Luneville, France, on 3 May 1918. Leading a patrol of three, Captain Peterson encountered five enemy planes at an altitude of 3,500 meters and immediately gave battle. Notwithstanding the fact that he was attacked from all sides, this officer, by skilful maneuvering, succeeded in shooting down one of the enemy planes and dispersing the remaining four."

and for the second was:

"For extraordinary heroism in action near Thiaucourt, France, on 15 May 1918. While on patrol alone, Captain Peterson encountered two enemy planes at an altitude of 5,200 meters. He promptly attacked despite the odds and shot down one of the enemy planes in flames. While thus engaged he was attacked from above by the second enemy plane, but by skilful manoeuvering he succeeded in shooting it down also."

His credited aerial victories included:

Date Time Unit Opponent Location

  • 1 19 Sep 1917 1540 N124 Albatros D.V Montfaucon
  • 2 03 May 1918 1040 94 Scout Amenencourt
  • 3 15 May 1918 1205 94 Rumpler C Thiaucourt
  • 4 15 May 1918 1210 94 Rumpler C Thiaucourt
  • 5 17 May 1918 2100 95 LVG C.VI St. Mihiel
  • 6 20 May 1918 95 Two-seater Pont-a-Mousson

An American Legion Post in Honesdale is named after him.

See Also