• Davison locates and purchases F-Boats for Unit training
• Yale Aero Club receives official status on campus

Trubee Davison in an F-Boat1

• Germany launches unrestricted U-boat warfare
• "Peace without Victory" speech by President Wilson


• Trubee and Harry Davison again offer service of the Unit to Secy. of Navy Josephus Daniels
• H.P. Davison dissuades Trubee from acting unilaterally in move to Palm Beach – says wait until Navy is ready
• Trubee meets with Lt. John H. Towers (Naval Aviator #2), Towers suggests Unit join Naval Reserve
• 100 Yale undergrads apply to Aero Club for membership
• Unit officially expanded to 28 members
• Unit prepares to mobilize
• Trubee made member of Committee on Aeronautics by FDR
• Trubee wires Lovett "We’re off!"

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Philadelphia
Navy Yard, 19172

• U.S. severs diplomatic ties with Germany on the same day the USS Housatonic is sunk by a U-boat
• Intercepting the infamous Zimmerman telegram, Britain exposes German plot to form alliance with Mexico against U.S.


• Unit called by Lovett and Davison to New London to enlist
• Unit members receive Ensign commission in U.S.N.R.
• J.P. Morgan & Co. contributes $100,000 to Unit
• Colonel Thompson raises additional $145,000 from wealthy subscribers
• Unit travels to Palm Beach, FL – stay at Breakers then Salt Air hotel

The Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach, FL3

Salt Air Hotel4

• Wilson is inaugurated – March 5
• Wilson arms U.S. merchantmen by executive order – 3/9
• Tsar Nicholas II abdicates due to Russian Revolution – 3/15
• Wilson calls for a national army - institutes draft
• The U.S. recognizes the new Russian government under Aleksandr Kerenski – March 22


• Kate Davison organizes “Girls Radio Unit” including Alice Davison, Adele Q. Brown and Priscilla Murdock
• Lieutenant E. O. McDonnell U.S.N. arrives in Palm Beach to take charge of the Unit
• Yale secret societies tap Unit members in ceremony in Palm Beach
• Farewell lunch given by H.P. Davison at Breakers

Lieutenant Edward O. McDonnell U.S.N.,
known to the Unit as “The Loot.”5

Liberty Bond poster takes aim at German U-Boat6

• U.S. Declares war on Germany April 6.
• German forces finish withdrawal to Hindenburg line
• Canadian forces take Vimy Ridge
• Lenin arrives in Russia
• Chemin des Dames Offensive ends; 250,000 French casualties; French mutinies
• German U-boats sink 881,027 gross tons – 500,000 are British
• RAF sets up air training camp in Toronto
• Princeton Aviation School Established



General John J. Pershing7

• French mutinies end
• Selective Service Act of May 18 passes in U.S. raising army from 200,000 to 4 million by war’s end
• General John J. Pershing leaves N.Y. bound for war front in France


• Unit moves base to Huntington, Long Island, NY

Curtiss R-6 at Huntington, LI8

• U.S. Espionage Act passed
• American Expeditionary Force under General Pershing arrives in France – June 24
• Greece enters war for Allies
• German Gotha bombers raid London in daylight
• U.S. First Aeronautic Detachment, commanded by Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting arrives in France


• U.S. pays Unit $1.00 reimbursement for expenses (actual expenses at Huntington, $190,000)
• Unit in sub spotting practice patrols with Navy
• Unit is tested for Navy Wings, July 28th
• Davison crippled in crash during test for Navy Wings
• Rockefeller, MacLeish, Ingalls, Wells Brown sent to New London for sub spotting duties

U.S. submarines at New London, 19189

• Pershing makes request for army of 1 million men, then revises request to 3 million
• Aquaba captured by Arabs led by T.E. Lawrence
• Third Battle of Ypres
• Naval Air Detachment established at MIT, Cambridge, MA
• House appropriates $64M for military aviation program (Army has 55 planes, 4,500 aviators; by war’s end: 16,801 aircraft) 


• Lt. E. O. McDonnell tests aircraft launched torpedo at Huntington
• Unit Farewell Dinner
• Ditman ordered to Bayshore
• Teddy Roosevelt visits Trubee in hospital
• Lovett and Gates  promoted to lieutenant, jg, and shipped out (aboard St. Paul); report to London HQ
• Ames, Gould, Al Ditman, WL Brown, Bill Rockefeller ordered to Bay Shore
• Curt Read, Bart Read, Kenney MacLeish, Ken McAlpin to Hampton Roads

Theodore Roosevelt, 191610


• Davison taken home to convalesce
• John Vorys and Sturtevant ship out on St. Paul
• Crock Ingalls, Sam Walker, Chip McIlwaine, Ken Smith, Reg Coombe, Hen Landon, and Freddie Beach ship out (aboard Philadelphia)
• John Farwell to naval detachment at Buffalo, joining 2nd Yale Unit
• Harry Davison to Newport
• Graham Brush to DC, tech expert at Bureau of Steam Engineering
• Oliver James to Navy Dept., DC, assisting Lt. E.F. Johnson (flight schools)
• Lewis Thompson EO of MIT ground school
• Frank Lynch and Lawrence to Squantum NAS then Rockaway Beach NAS
• Brown transferred to Rockaway

USS St. Paul, 189811

• Riga offensive; German troops break through northern Russian front


• Vorys and Sturtevant receive advanced pilot training in France
• Lovett  serves at Moutchic, France, eventually becoming Chief Pilot
• Harry Davison and R.L. Ireland transferred to Hampton Roads
• Lynch, Ames, Lawrence request overseas duties
• MacLeish sails for Europe
• Ditman serves at Anacostia, test pilot and ordnance officer & flying instructor
• Graham Brush and McCulloch make 2nd ever flight with Liberty engine powered aircraft
• Walker, Smith, Landon and Coombe to Le Croisic coastal air station

U.S. Navy Aeronautic Detachment No. 1
Officers Quarters, Moutchic, France12

• 12th battle of Isonzo; Italians defeated; Austria-German forces break Italian front at Caporetto
• Captain H. I. Cone takes command of U.S. Naval Aviation Forces from Lt. Whiting


• Vorys and Sturtevant receive French brevet at completion of French flying training
• Ames, Lawrence, Lynch sent to Fort Worth, TX, for advanced training – then to Hampton Roads
• Lt. McDonnell transferred to  D.C. Belinger assumes command at Hampton Roads
• Curtis and Bartow Read ship out on S.S. New York
• Vorys, Sturtevant, Lovett, Gates, Walker and Ingalls together in Paris for 2 days
• Landon and Coombe pilot first U.S. patrol in European waters at Le Croisic
• Ken Smith piloting Tellier No. 87 out of Le Croisic, is downed due to engine trouble. Adrift on high seas for 52 hours, crew is eventually rescued by French torpedo boat
• Gates arrives at Dunkirk on Thanksgiving day – designated Chief Pilot
• Second Yale Unit commissioned as Ensigns, U.S.N.R.F.

Sketch of French Brevet by John Vorys
in letter home13

Bomb damage at Dunkirk14

• Bolshevik overthrow of Russian gov’t; Lenin rules Communist state
• Battle of Cambral starts with surprise tank attack by British
• First three Americans KIA – November 3
• New York ratifies constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. 


• Ingalls, MacLeish and ‘Shorty’ Smith sent to Gosport for fighter training.
• Thompson injured - inactive duty until Septemeber, 1918
• Members of “Girls Radio Unit” are tested and obtain first class radio operators licenses
• Gould serves as Officer in Charge of Flying at NAS Key West, FL
• Vorys and Sturtevant ordered to Felixtowe, UK, to train for “spider web” patrols over North Sea
• Members of Unit reunite at Grosvenor Hotel in London on furlough for holidays
• Lovett sent to Felixtowe to study RNAS operations
• Farwell, sent to Pensacola, FL, becomes Squadron Commander
• McIlwaine & Beach serve at Moutchic to May 1918, Curtis and Bartow Read with them to Feb. 1918
• Walker serves stint at Colonel House in Paris for Inter-Allied War Conference
• Landon delivers aircraft to McIlwaine at Moutchic
• Coombe, C. Read, McIlwaine, Ken Smith and Beach dine together in Paris
• Ralph D. Paine, writer, visits Dunkirk (Paine later hired by Davison family to chronicle Unit history)


Curtiss F-Boat serving as air ambulance at
Key West NAS15

• German – Russian armistice signed by Leon Trotsky
• U.S. declares war on Austria-Hungary
• Jerusalem captured from Turks by British

Photograph Citations

1 Courtesy Daniel Davison
2 Courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Digital Archive
3 Courtesy Mary V. King
4 Courtesy The Florida Center For Instructional Technology, University of South Florida
5 Courtesy Daniel Davison
6 Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-8017
7 Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-hec-07393
8 Courtesy Daniel Davison
9 Courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center, NH 104986
10 Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-G432-1561; 1916 Sept. 8
11 Courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center, NH 59924
12 Courtesy U.S. National Archives, (Still Picture Records, College Park, MD)
13 Courtesy Mary V. King
14 Courtesy U.S. National Archives, (Still Picture Records, College Park, MD)
15 Courtesy U.S. National Archives, (Still Picture Records, College Park, MD)



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