First to Down a German Aircraft in WWI Air Combat

outside picture of National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Museum constructed on the site of former Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

Contributor’s Story: May 2021
Place: Dayton, Ohio
Time: Early 1970’s
Subject: U.S. Army Air Corp; World War I
Topic: Air Combat

I resided in Dayton, Ohio from 1962 through 1987 in a north side residential community. Across the street from our house was a two-story brick house with a screened front porch. The resident’s name was George Miller, age somewhere in his 80’s. He was a WWI Army Air Corp pilot. George would ask my youngest daughter (age seven at the time) to join him on his porch for snacks and Kool Aid, iced tea, etc. He would escort her back and forth across the street. His daughter introduced herself and informed me that George was the first WWI pilot (open bi/wing aircraft – machine gun mount) to down a German aircraft by dropping a grenade into the cockpit. However, the “first” meeting authenticity was still questionable as the U.S. Air Force was evaluating whether George Miller or one other man would be declared the first to accomplish such a feat. I visited the Air Force Museum and there was a glass enclosure displaying George’s uniform. That’s all. Within the next two years George was recognized as the “first” to down a German aircraft (grenade) in WWI Air Combat. Returning to the museum, George’s uniform/memorabilia, etc. filled the glass case. If you have the time on vacations, leisure trips, Vets or are looking for something to do, I highly recommend you pack up the family and visit the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Donald A. Millar, Founder