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THIS MONTH IN ADA HISTORY
May


18 May 1918, American Anti-Air’s first recorded kill. A German observation plane was crossing between the security of the Germany’s lines, and into the buffer of no man’s land, trying to collect information on unit positioning. An alert crew of the 2nd Antiaircraft Battery was located approximately 2,700 meters away and was armed with two French 75mm guns. As the crew prepared the shell fuses for the desired altitude, Lieutenant A. T. Slaten calculated the necessary data, on range, location, and speed. Soon the air was filled with the burst of powder and fragmentation, and the effects provided results. The German observation plane went into a dive, followed by an uncontrolled spiral, finally crashing into the 500 meters of ground known as no-man’s land. The crew managed to survive the crash, and was viewed scrambling from the wreckage and behind German lines.

That night, a French infantry patrol ventured across friendly lines to strip the enemy plane of its machine guns, and other useful equipment. The patrol was also successful in cutting away a piece of the aircraft underbelly and later presented it to the American Battery Commander, Captain E. A. Mellon as a souvenir and confirmation of the American’s first recorded kill.

St. Barbara Award Cheat Sheet