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Frank Luke Draws His Sidearm

America's Forgotten Heroes

The Daily Wire


53.9K Ratings

🗓️ 6 July 2021

⏱️ 52 minutes

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Frank Luke was America’s second highest scoring ace in World War One. Over the course of twelve furious days, he shot down 17 enemy aircraft, many of them observation balloons, by far the most important, the most difficult and the most heavily defended targets of the war. He had been a fullback on his undefeated state champion high school football team in Phoenix, Arizona, before taking a job in the copper mines. An altercation with a professional fighter got him into the bare-knuckle boxing circuit, and when he tired of this he opened a dance hall and, wearing a dress, taught tough and lonely miners how to dance. He learned aerobatics while showing off over his fiancée’s house, and on his first combat training flight he thoroughly thrashed his veteran instructor. Desperate to fit in, he became known as a loud-mouthed braggart, and later a coward, but once he partnered with another outcast from his squadron he set a record string of amazing victories never equaled in that war. Those that saw him fly said he was the best pilot they had ever seen, one who would have easily defeated Manfred Von Richthofen, the infamous Red Baron. His actions on the ground after being shot down on his final mission made him the first aviator ever to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Frank Luke, the balloon buster, was America's second highest scoring ace of World War One.


Now there were more than 200 aces with over 20 kills during Great War.


Out of that list there's only one American and that's Eddie Rickenbacker with 26.


Frank Luke, with 18 victories, didn't even make the top 200.


But Frank Luke was a better pilot than all of them.


When those that saw him flying, seasoned aces, chief among them Eddie Rickenbacker himself,


agreed that Luke was the best pilot and by far the best shot that they'd ever seen


and many of them said that they had no doubt whatsoever that in a one-on-one fight with


the Red Baron Manfred von Richthoff and Frank Luke would have made short work out of them.


Now he comes down to us as a mean spirited taciturn, heartless killing machine, a loner,


a braggart, an almost pure antithesis of grinning, charming, likable Eddie Rickenbacker.


It's virtually impossible to find a photo of Rickenbacker without that trademark smile,


and it's even more difficult to find one of Frank Luke, it doesn't look like he's


about to come over there and kick your ass.


The most famous picture ever taken of Luke, he's leaning against his sped 13 by plane.


He looks like a man that got dragged by his wife to a shopping mall in the middle of


watching a playoff game.


His eyes are serious, cruel even.


He looks exactly like a human bird of prey, which, of course, is what he was.


There are no pictures of a smiling balloon buster because by the time he was famous back


home in the States, Frank Luke was already dead.


But if you walk his life back for a little bit just a few months, you see a completely


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