Join Italian author Luigino Caliaro for a photographic exploration of American Airmen serving in Italy during World War I. The presentation will highlight the training that some airmen received to operate Caproni Ca.3 bombers, under the leadership of future New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Caliaro will also discuss the US Navy pilots who flew in the Adriatic, including Ensign Charles H. Hammann (USNRF), and the heroic actions that earned him the Medal of Honor. Additionally, the talk will provide an overview of the US Navy and Army forces active in Italy during this period.

**The Charles H. Hammann Medal of Honor Action:**

Americans in Italy 1918 Charles H. Hammann
Navy Ensign Charles Hazeltine Hammann was among the first U.S. military aviators to see combat when the country entered World War I. His heroics in the skies over Europe earned him the distinction of being the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor.

Ensign Hammann was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing his squadron mate, Ensign George M. Ludlow, during aerial operations off the coast of Pola, Croatia, on August 21, 1918. After Ludlow’s Macchi M.5 seaplane fighter was shot down and force-landed on the Adriatic Sea, Hammann bravely landed his own M.5 beside Ludlow under constant threat of attack. With the single-seater aircraft unable to accommodate both men, Ludlow clung to the engine struts for the return flight to Porto Corsini, Italy. Ensign Hammann became the first US naval aviator to receive the nation’s highest military decoration. Unfortunately, he lost his life while on active duty at Langley Field, Virginia, on June 14, 1919. The WWII destroyers USS Hammann (DD 412) and USS Hammann (DE 131) were named in his honor.

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