The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

The World’s First Black Fighter Pilot

The World’s First Black Fighter Pilot

A largely unsung and non-known hero of the World War One was the fascinating Eugene James "Jacques" Bullard of the Lafayette Flying Corps. Biography Eugene Jacques Bullard Bullard was born in a three-room house in Columbus, Georgia, the seventh of ten children born to William (Octave) Bullard, a black man who was from Martinique, and Josephine ("Yokalee") Thomas, a Creek Indian. His father's ancestors had been slaves in Haiti to French refugees who fled during the Haitian Revolution. They...

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Parallel Lives, Shared History

Parallel Lives, Shared History

Herb Heilbrun and John Leahr were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both were thrown into the brutal high-altitude bomber war against Nazi Germany. However, they never met because the Army was rigidly segregated - only in the air were black and white American fliers allowed to mix. Both came safely home, but it took a chance meeting 20 years ago when the two retired salesmen met at a reunion of the...

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