Capt. Edward V. "Eddie" Rickenbacker was the United States' top scoring flying ace of World War I. Before America entered the war, Rickenbacker was an accomplished racecar driver. Because of his fame, he was offered the position of chauffeur to Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of U.S. forces in France. Soon after arriving in France in 1917, Rickenbacker was captivated by flying and requested a transfer to the fledgling U.S. Army Air Service. Following flight training at Tours, France, he was assigned to the famed 94th “Hat-in-the-Ring” Aero Squadron.
While flying with the 94th, Rickenbacker scored 26 confirmed victories. In 1930 President Herbert Hoover presented to him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, for boldly attacking seven enemy airplanes alone and shooting down two of them on September 25, 1918.
Capt. Rickenbacker wore the uniform on display while serving in France during World War I. It is comprised of the standard high collar wool service coat with a garrison cap. Note the early winged propeller aviation insignia on the collar and pilot's badge on left breast of the uniform. The Air Service adopted the riding breeches and boots from the cavalry.
Donated by Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker
United States Army Air Service (USAAS) Type M1912/1917 officer's uniform coat coat worn by Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker; single breasted drab wool with five brass buttons down front; two upper patch pockets and two lower patch pockets with brass buttoned flap; stiff or "choker" collar; single gold officer's lace on each cuff; epaulets; brass "U.S." insignia on right collar; Winged Propeller Air Service insignia on left collar; three overseas service chevrons on left cuff; Distinguished Service Cross ribbon with 7 oak leaf clusters (on 2 ribbons), French Legion of Honor ribbon, French Croix de Guerre ribbon with 3 palm leaves.