Aviation History

American Fighter Ace Eddie Rickenbacker Was Flying the Day Great War Ended. Here’s his Touching Account.

“Suddenly gray uniforms mixed with brown. I could see them hugging each other, dancing, jumping. Americans were passing out cigarettes and chocolate,” Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I fighter ace.

On the morning of Nov. 11, 1918, American fighter ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker defied orders, jumped in his airplane, and flew out over the front to watch the war end….

“I was the only audience for the greatest show ever presented. On both sides of no-man’s-land, the trenches erupted. Brown-uniformed men poured out of the American trenches, gray-green uniforms out of the German.

“From my observer’s seat overhead, I watched them throw their helmets in the air, discard their guns, wave their hands. Then all up and down the front, the two groups of men began edging toward each other across no-man’s-land.

“Seconds before they had been willing to shoot each other; now they came forward. Hesitantly at first, then more quickly, each group approached the other.

“Suddenly gray uniforms mixed with brown. I could see them hugging each other, dancing, jumping. Americans were passing out cigarettes and chocolate.

“I flew up to the French sector. There it was even more incredible. After four years of slaughter and hatred, they were not only hugging each other but kissing each other on both cheeks as well.

“Star shells, rockets and flares began to go up, and I turned my ship toward the field.

“The war was over.”

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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