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German Ace and American Citizen Lt. Arthur Rahn


Arthur Rahn was born in East Prussia in 1897. In January 1915, six months after World War I began, the seventeen-year-old Rahn volunteered to join the Imperial German Air Service. He began flying school in the spring of 1915 in the town of Koslin, near the Baltic Sea. During his combat flying career of less than two years, he served with three Jagdstaffeln, or squadrons (commonly called “Jastas”), and survived the war despite being wounded in combat in July 1917.

Rahn opened a machine shop after the war, but inflation destroyed the German economy and his business in the 1920s. He emigrated to the United States in 1928 and settled near Detroit, Michigan. There, he became a U.S. citizen in the early 1930s, worked in the aircraft industry, and became a supervisor at a steel fabricating firm. Following World War II, Rahn started his own successful steel fabricating business, and he passed away in 1962.

The Fokker Dr. I triplane reproduction on display is painted to represent the aircraft flown by Lt. Arthur Rahn in April 1918 when he served with Jagdstaffel 19. Lt. Rahn is credited with six confirmed victories. The aircraft was placed on display in April 1994 in the Early Years Gallery.

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.