DAYTON – The Air Force Museum Foundation Living History Series will present the world premiere of the film “The Lafayette Escadrille” at 7 p.m., with a conversation with the filmmakers to follow, on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Air Force Museum Theatre. A limited number of tickets are available for a VIP reception at 6 p.m. that evening.
A live symposium featuring current and retired members of the military, historians, and descendants of the Lafayette Escadrille pilots will be held starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10. The symposium will take place in the Carney Auditorium, also inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air ForceTM, near Dayton.
“The Lafayette Escadrille” is the first comprehensive documentary film made about the American volunteers who flew for France before the United States entered World War I. They have been called “the Founding Fathers of American combat aviation.” The production was filmed at over 40 locations in France, drawing on over 20 interviews, and thousands of original artifacts, letters, memoirs, photographs, and films.
“The Lafayette Escadrille” follows the path of the young Americans who came to the aid of America’s oldest ally—standing up for the values of freedom and liberty shared by the sister republics. It is the only American story that covers the entire duration of the war, from one end of the Western Front to the other.
“The story of the Lafayette Escadrille is well-known, and since it embodies the spirit of devotion and sacrifice, it is dear to the hearts of aviators everywhere,” said Darroch Greer, co-producer/director of the film. “This film is our tribute to America’s first combat aviation squadron, and we are honored to hold its premiere at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.”
Raoul Lufbery III, great grand-nephew of Major Raoul Lufbery, the Escadrille’s leading ace, said, “The filmmakers have done a wonderful job telling this amazing story of remarkable Americans fighting for righteous causes for all mankind.”
Tickets for the Saturday film premiere in the Air Force Museum Theatre are $12, $10 for Foundation members and military. Tickets for the VIP reception are $50 and include a ticket for the film. For tickets, call 937-656-9631 or visit www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory.
The Sunday symposium in the Carney Auditorium is free. The first hour will feature a panel of experts discussing the historical legacy of the Escadrille. The second hour will feature personal stories by Escadrille descendants.
Scheduled symposium attendees:
General Yvon Goutx, Armée de L’air [French Air Force] (Ret)
Steve Ruffin – author of “The Lafayette Escadrille — A Photo History”
David Hanna – author of “Rendezvous with Death — The Americans Who Joined the Foreign Legion to Fight for France and for Civilization”
Dr. Doug Lantry – Curator & Historian, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Raoul Lufbery III – great grand-nephew of Major Raoul Lufbery
Nick Rutgers – fighter pilot and great grandson of James Norman Hall
Alexandra Truitt – great grand-niece of James McConnell
George Thenault III – grandson of George Thenault
Geoff Chapman – grand-nephew of Victor Chapman
The goal of the Living History Series is to “educate, honor and inspire.” The 2019 Living History Series is supported by Holiday Inn Dayton-Fairborn and the law firm Taft.