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News: Looking ahead

Things may appear quiet at but rest easy knowing there's quite a lot more going on behind the scenes. During the last several weeks we've been unearthing new leads and running them down. So here's a few updates of what we've been doing and what's on the horizon.

Lt. Robert L. Davidson Letters

We recently obtained copies from The State Historical Society of Missouri of Lt. Robert L. Davidson's letters home. He was a pilot in the 12th. His vivid descriptions of training, life on the Front and combat have been very insightful and allowed us to more thoroughly reconstruct the dogfight in which Arthur and Fleeson shot down two enemy aircraft.

Lt. Robert L. Davidson 12th Aero Squadron Cropped from NASM-9A11573-121
Lt. Robert L. Davidson 12th Aero Squadron Cropped from NASM-9A11573-121

Major Lewis Hyde Brereton Papers

We located and obtained copies of letters written home by then Major Lewis Hyde Brereton, Commander of the 12th Aero Squadron. He was responsible for getting the 12th to the Front much earlier than scheduled. His letters are housed in the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University.

Lt. Col. Lewis Hyde Brereton Commander 12th Aero Squadron
Lt. Col. Lewis Hyde Brereton Commander 12th Aero Squadron

USAFA Library Research Trip

In early August, editor Daniel Pool is scheduled to visit the U.S. Air Force Library Special Collections Division to digitize and study portions of the Dwight Collection. This collection contains a great many photos, letters, diary and unpublished manuscript about Lt. Dwight's experiences as a pilot with the 12th Aero during the latter portion of the war. Having access to his first hand accounts will be especially valuable to our efforts to tell the 12th's story.

Image from the USAF Academy

Lt. Dogan H. Arthur

Perhaps the most promising bit of news is we've also made contact with descendants of Lt. Dogan Arthur. The family has provided transcriptions of a few letters he wrote home to his mother about his experiences on the Front. Lt. Arthur is of particular interest as he and his Observer Lt. Fleeson shot down the most enemy aircraft in the 12th (3 total) during the World War. They also were each twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His letters are very descriptive and have already provided details on three major engagements in which he was shot down. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with the Arthur family. Their assistance has been most generous and invaluable.

Lt Fleeson (left) and Lt. Arthur (right) 12th Aero Squadron
Lt Fleeson (left) and Lt. Arthur (right) 12th Aero Squadron NASM-9A11573-213


Our editor, Daniel Pool, has been very busy behind the scenes consolidating, organizing and prepping the World War 1 portions of our research for publication. He's pulled together about 110 pages of notes and citations thus far. No firm date is yet set for publication but the groundwork is well underway.

Editor Daniel Pool is also awaiting publication of a short article he wrote for Over the Front Journal by the League of World War 1 Aviation Historians. We'll let you know when it hits print.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Lastly, we collaborated with Dimitris Vassilopoulos of regarding Lt. Mingo V. Logothetis. He specializes in preserving the history of WWII Greek pilots and since Mingo was Greek, Mr. Vassilopoulos reached out to us seeking additional information for a book he is writing. Together, we attempted to make contact with Lt. Logothetis' next of kin. Ultimately, however, we were unable to establish contact with them. Our collaboration with Mr. Vassilopoulos did yield some benefit as we were able to share research and establish a new warm friendship. Special thanks to Vassilopoulos for his generosity.

We have articles planned for the Fall and Winter of this year and appreciate your patience. If you love history and would like to assist our mission, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

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