Corporal Eugene Jacques Bullard

First African-American fight pilot

Born October 9, 1894 in Columbus, Georgia, Eugene Bullard soon left the deep South to escape racial discrimination and stowed away on a ship bound for Europe. While in the United Kingdom, he became an accomplished professional boxer and eventually found his way to France, a country that his native-Carribean father described as a place of racial harmony.

Croix de Guerre (Cross of War)

Mr. Bullard then joined the French Foreign Legion during WWI and fought in the trenches against the Germans in the battle of Verdun where he was injured and subsequently award the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War). He later joined the French Air Force and enrolled in pilot training school where he learned to fly the SPAD VII biplane and became reknowned for his courage in flying behind enemy lines. He soon became known as the Black Shadow of Death after scoring one confirmed kill of a German plane. Unfornunately, his enlisted flying career ended following a dispute with a French officer. He eventually joined the Resistance movement working to undermine and sabotage both Nazi rule and French collaboration.

In 1954, the French government invited Bullard back to Paris to joined two Frenchmen in rekindling the everlasting flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider under the Arc de Triomphe. In 1959, he was made a chevalier (knight) of the Legion d'honneur.

Corp Eugene Bullard