A Pair of Aces and a Trey (Hardback)
1st Lieutenants William P. Erwin, Arthur E. Easterbrook, and Byrne V. Baucom: America's Top Scoring World War I Observation Pilot and Observers
Trained as a pursuit pilot but assigned to an observation squadron, the indefatigable Bill Erwin flew twice as many hours over the front lines as any other pilot in the 1st Aero Squadron. His two primary observers, Byrne Baucom and Arthur Easterbrook, were both previously Army infantry officers and deadly marksmen. It was their dedication, bravery, and courage under fire that kept them alive throughout the Château-Thierry, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. Easterbrook scored four of his five victories while flying with Erwin, including two in one day, while Baucom scored all three of his victories with Erwin. Even after returning in shredded Salmsons, being forced down, and shot down on multiple occasions, all three remained relatively unscathed throughout the war.
Erwin’s dramatic life culminated in his disappearance during the 1927 Dole Air Race, while Easterbrook became a revered figure in Washington. Revered in his home state of Texas, Baucom became a pilot in the 1920s and rose to become an instructor at an advanced flying school. He died in an aircraft crash in 1928. While Erwin became Dallas’ ‘favorite son’ in life, 3,000 people paid tributes to Baucom at his funeral, showing his immense popularity. Easterbrook was the only one of the three to survive to reach his military career potential, retiring as a brigadier general after World War II. Alan Roesler retraces the lives and careers of the three men in this new joint biography.