“Millionaire’s Unit” Documentary Film Focuses on Yale’s Pioneer American Aviators

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“The Millionaire’s Unit: America’s Pioneer Pilots of The Great War” is the title of a new documentary film project launched by film makers Darroch Greer and Ron King of southern California.


The feature-length documentary will recount the story of a handful of Yale University students who formed an aero club and trained at their own expense as aviators while America was still neutral.  Following the April 1917 US declaration of war on Germany, these young pilots, and many others from Yale who joined their ranks, were incorporated into the US Naval Reserve before going “Over There” where they were among the first in American uniform to see action in The Great War.

Early American aviators of the Yale unit in Florida, 1917.

Early American aviators of the Yale unit 1917.

The significance of the early Yale aviators is considerable – as outlined by the project’s website. “The triumphs and tragedies of these young aviators during World War I forever altered, not only the course of their lives, but the future of American aviation, warfare, and foreign policy in the 20th century.  Together, these friends exemplified the noblest ambitions of a young country struggling to emerge as a leading power in a new and frighteningly dangerous world.  With the compelling stories of these high-flyers – told through their correspondence by family members and historians – the film of The Millionaires’ Unit will capture the breadth and depth of the personal war experience when America came of age as a world power.”

For more information, and details on how individuals can assist, visit the project’s website here.