Capt. Field E. Kindley, with the famous Eddie Rickenbacker, was one of America’s foremost World War I flying aces. Like Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story is one of fierce dogfights, daring aerial feats, and numerous brushes with death. Yet unlike Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story has not been fully told until now.
Field Kindley gained experience with the RAF before providing leadership for the U.S. Air Service. Kindley was the fourth-ranking American air ace; his exploits earned him a Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster from the United States and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the British government.
In February 1920, during a practice drill Kindley led, some enlisted men unwittingly entered the bombing target area. “Buzzing” the troops to warn them off the field, Kindley somehow lost control of his plane and died in the ensuing crash.
Using arduously gathered primary materials and accounts of Great War aces, Jack Ballard tells the story of this little-known hero from the glory days of aerial warfare. Through this tale, an era and a daring flyer live again.
What Readers Are Saying:
". . . through his extensive use of references and resources and his own excellent story-telling ability, Ballard presents a fine written memorial to this early hero of the Army Air Service."
". . . it is always refreshing to read accounts of lesser-known aviators whose stories have something to contribute to the historical understanding of flying, and the setting and time in which they lived. Such is the case with War Bird Ace, Jack Stokes Ballard's account of First World War pilot and ace Captain Field E. Kindley. . . provides all the excitement and daring of many combat pilot accounts, but Ballard's offering also gives some glimpses of World War I flying that are less often highlighted. . ."
“Almost everyone remembers Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke from World War I; a few recall Raoul Lufbery, Elliott White Springs, and one or two others. To that pantheon must be added the name of Field Eugene Kindley, and American ace who deserves to be numbered in that honored company. Kindley was a young man, somewhat more mature that most, who proved a superb fighter pilot and born leader. The first of his twelve victories was over the veteran commander of Jasta 5. His fourth victory accounted for a Fokker D-VII possibly flown by Lothar von Richthofen, brother of the ‘Red Baron himself and an ace on his own account. Kindley remained with the U. S. Air Service after the war, ultimately assuming command of the fabled 94th Pursuit Squadron; however, his early death in an accident ended the promise and sent his name into obscurity. Now, in a well-written biography based upon exhaustive research using rare, original documents, aviation historian Jack Stokes Ballard has revived Kindley’s record and breathed life into his memory. War Bird Ace will be appreciated by aviation aficionados, and by those interested in the rise of airpower and the U. S. Air Service during the Great War.” --Dr. Roger G. Miller, Author of To Save a City: The Berlin Ai
“Until now, Field Kindley’s was one of the great, yet lost, stories in Air Force history. Jack Ballard brings this World War I ace to life, chronicling the kind of American hero that makes us proud.” --Herman S. Wolk, author of Planning and Organizing the Postwar Air Force 19
“. . . a solidly written and soundly researched work on the life of this lesser known American pilot of WWI that rescues an American hero of that conflict from obscurity. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the early years of aviation history, the history of the Great War, and the history of the AEF in the Great War.” --Robert B. Bruce, author of A Fraternity of Arms: America & France in t
“This is an interesting account of his enlistment, training and active service and as part of the Army of Occupation after the War ended.” --Cross and Cockade International Journal, Vol. 38, No. 3
“It is always refreshing to read accounts of lesser-known aviators whose stories have something to contribute to the historical understanding of flying, and the setting and time in which they lived. Such is the case with War Bird Ace, Jack Stokes Ballard’s account of First World War pilot and ace Captain Field E. Kindley. . . .provides all the excitement and daring of many combat pilot accounts, but Ballard’s offering also gives some glimpses of World War I flying that are less often highlighted. The discussion of Kindley’s experiences as a squadron leader during the immediate post-war occupation of Germany also offers details not typically presented in this genre of aviation writing. . . . War Bird Ace is an entertaining and useful account of an aviator whose story is worth knowing.” --Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine
“Through his extensive use of references and resources and his own excellent story-telling ability, Ballard presents a fine written memorial to this early hero of the Army Air Service.” --The Journal of America’s Military Past