Knee Deep Into History… As erosion brings the Aire River ever closer to Hamilton Coolidge’s grave in the field where he crashed and is buried outside the village of Chevières, France, the Coolidge family has chosen to re-bury their famous 94th Aero Squadron son in a plot adjacent to the town cemetery. One hundred plus years after WW1, reburials are rare, especially with such a well-known aviator. The reburial provides the perfect catalyst for an aviation-focused tour!
We envision this Knee Deep Into History tour to be focused on the A.E.F. battlefields, but with a heavy mix of aviation worked into the itinerary in lieu of some of KDIH’s daily battlefield walks. The tour will start with a visit to the Aisne-Marne Battlefields, where Coolidge scored his first victory in July 1918 and where his best friend, Quentin Roosevelt, was shot down during the same month. From there it will move to the Meuse-Argonne Sector and the St. Mihiel Salient (aka the Toul Sector), where the likes of U.S. Air Service aviators Eddie Rickenbacker, Frank Luke, Harold Goettler and Erwin Bleckley and others etched their names into American aviation history. It will also visit key Lafayette Escadrille sites, such as the Behonne and Senard airfields.
The tour will examine how the fledgling U.S. Air Service supported the attacking troops. It will still include some traditional Knee Deep Into History battlefield walks of moderate length and duration, such as the Lost Battalion site, allowing participants to explore the still visible remains of the battlefields. This will be supplemented by photos, maps and first-person accounts at key stopping points that focus on the ground war as well as the air war.
KDIH also strives to tell both sides of the story. In this regard we hope to paint a picture of the opposing German Luftstreitkräfte, sharing stories and photos of German aviators and airfields along the way.
The tour will culminate with participation in Capt. Coolidge’s Reburial Ceremony on Sunday, 15 September 2024. We invite you to join the tour and get knee deep into AEF aviation history!
Brief Schedule (See Brochure for Full Details)
Tuesday, 10 Sept. Pick up at CDG. Drive to Chateau-Thierry. Stops in and around Chateau-Thierry. Late afternoon Champagne tasting. Introductory briefing and dinner. Hotel TBD in Chateau-Thierry.
Wednesday, 11 Sept. Aisne-Marne battlefields and airfields, including Belleau Wood and the Aisne-Marne and Oise-Aisne American Cemeteries. Visit the initial gravesite of Quentin Roosevelt. Hotel TBD in Chateau-Thierry.
Thursday, 12 Sept. St. Mihiel / Toul Sector. Examination of the areas use to train numerous green AEF divisions as well as the mid-September 1918 offensive by the American First Army. Will also visit key aerodromes in this sector, including the Lafayette Escadreille airfield at Behonne and the airfield at Souilly. Hotel TBD.
Friday, 13 Sept. St. Mihiel Sector in the morning, then drive to Verdun for some early afternoon shopping and down time before driving to the hotel. Stay at the Hotel Restaurant Le Tulipier in Vienne-le-Chateau.
Saturday, 14 Sept. Meuse-Argonne battlefield. This will include a look at the story of the Lost Battalion resupply efforts and Frank Luke’s balloon busting. It will include a visit to key graves at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Stop at Senard, one of the last Lafayette Escadrille airfields. Stay in Vienne-le-Chateau.
Sunday, 15 Sept. Meuse-Argonne continued. Participation in the Reburial Ceremony with the Cooldige Family and Village of Chevieres, France. Stay in Vienne-le-Chateau.
Monday, 16 Sept. Meuse-Argonne continued in the morning. Early afternoon drive back to CDG, with a last aviation stop at the rest area, “Aire de la Noblette,” very close to the Lafayette Escadrille’s last airfield. Return to CDG late afternoon or early evening.
What Makes This Tour so Unique?
- The ability to attend a reburial ceremony of such a key figure!
- There are lots of traces of war left in these areas, and battlefield walks will explore them.
- We believe that we will do a great blending of the ground war and the air war during this tour!
Download the Tour Information Here and Sign-up Today!
Have a question? Email KDIH.