Flyboys: Lafayette Escadrille

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The movie Flyboys” depicts the story of young Americans who joined the Lafayette Escadrille squadron to fight in World War I. They faced the Germans who had better planes and weapons, and the expectancy for a pilot was very low. The main character, Blaine Rawlings, was forced to leave his home in Texas and joined the squadron. Other members included Eugene Skinner, an African American boxer, Briggs Lowry, who initially refused to room with Skinner, William Jensen, who had a family history of military service, and Eddie Beagle, who was running away from a crime. After their leader Cassidy dies, Rawlings takes the leader position and tries to save his squadron. Jensen continued to fly, Skinner joined the U.S. forces but was not allowed to fly, and Beagle started his own flying circus. Rawlings went to Paris to reunite with his love interest, but returned to Texas and never flew again. The movie is based on a true story of young Americans who fought in World War I.”

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In 1917, the United States joined World War I, three years after it had started in Europe. The war led to a loss of over nine million lives. American youths enlisted in the Lafayette Escadrille squadron and traveled to France for combat and flight instruction. They encountered formidable German enemies with superior aircraft, weapons, and more skilled aviators. The average lifespan of pilots was merely three to six weeks. In the movie, Blaine Rawlings, one of the central characters, felt compelled to abandon his Texas residence due to his family ranch’s foreclosure.

Eugene Skinner, an African American professional boxer residing in France, made the decision to give back and join a cause. Briggs Lowry, unable to do anything successfully, is compelled by his father to join, although he adamantly refuses to share a room with the African American. William Jensen comes from a lineage of military members within his family, while Eddie Beagle is on the run for a crime he committed by using a toy gun. Following the death of their leader Cassidy, Rawlings steps up and assumes the leadership role, making efforts to save and assist his squadron.

Despite a flight breakdown, William Jensen remained a pilot during the war. In contrast, Eugene Skinner, an African American, joined the U.S. forces but was unable to fly; nevertheless, he later became one of the earliest aviators in the U.S. Airmail service. Eddie Beagle, who married a French woman, started his own aerial show. Conversely, Blaine Rawlings ventured to Paris in search of Lucienne, his love interest from France; unfortunately, he was unsuccessful and eventually returned to Texas where he established one of the largest ranches and retired from flying. It is important to note that this account is based on true events!

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Flyboys: Lafayette Escadrille. (2016, Nov 11). Retrieved from

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