American Air Combat Stories Air combat in World War I was as varied as the people who flew and fought in the skies over Europe. The stories of four Americans and their personal effects on display at the museum illustrate their experiences. One of them was the first American serviceman to shoot down an enemy plane, and one was the second-ranking U.S. ace of the war. Another enthusiastically flew the Stars and Stripes from his fighter, and yet another was the first member of the U.S. Army Air Service to die -- though mysteriously -- on a combat mission. Click on the following links to learn more about American Air Combat Stories. Capt. William C. Lambert Lt. Stephen W. Thompson Capt. Frederick Libby Capt. Phelps Collins Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.