Each Memorial Day, the Escadrille Lafayette (or Lafayette Squadron, but commonly referred to in English as the Lafayette Escadrille) is honored in France. The Lafayette Escadrille was formed during the First World War, as American students in France created a fighter squadron to participate in the war prior to the American declaration of war.
NPR reports on the Memorial Day ceremonies in France. The article erroneously describes the squadron as a “little known group of pilots,” however.
The Lafayette Escadrille is arguably one of the most famous fighter squadrons in history, with hundreds of books and articles devoted to it. The squadron is well known not only to historians of the First World War and the history of aviation, but also to wargame players and history buffs. Numerous historical films and television programs have featured the squadron, including William A. Wellman’s feature film, Lafayette Escadrille (1958), Flyboys (2006), and Against the Wind (2012). Many air museums across the United States have exhibits featuring the Lafayette Escadrille.