29 April - 5 May
As our Centennial Series continues, we find the 12th Aero Squadron pressing ahead with its preparation for combat on the Western Front.
On, April 29, the last of the Aerial Observers report for duty. The observers are the heart of the squadron performing inflight photography, reconnaissance, artillery adjustments, escort duty and navigation. Though often considered by the public as second class to pilots, they will soon prove themselves every bit as equal in courage and ability.
Two days later, May 1st, the 12th receives crates containing its first two Salmson 2a2 aircraft. The Salmsons are considered state of the art and will eventually replace the obsolete A.R.s (See above photo from Gorrell's History of the AEF) the 12th currently possesses. The Salmsons are a welcome sight. Unfortunately, after assembly, the squadron discovers the aircraft engines are plagued with factory defects. Mechanics from the 12th Aero must tear down and rebuild critical components to get the Salmsons ready for war.
On May 3rd, Commander Maj Brereton and the 12th Aero Squadron pull up stakes and join the 1st Aero Squadron (The modern day 1st Reconnaissance Squadron) at Ourches, France where they will finally begin combat operations over the Western Front in the "relatively quiet" Toul Sector.
*Gorrell's History of the A.E.F.