Asheville in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Kiffin Y. Rockwell
Erected 1954 by Archives, Conservation and Highway Departments. (Marker Number P-44.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • War, World I.
Location. 35° 36.448′ N, 82° 33.235′ W. Marker is in Asheville, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is at the intersection of Merrimon Avenue (U.S. 25) and Hillside Street, on the right when traveling south on Merrimon Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Asheville NC 28801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jeter C. Pritchard (approx. 0.3 miles away); 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Locke Craig (approx. 0.4 miles away); Riverside Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Thomas Wolfe House / Dixieland (approx. 0.7 miles away); Zelda Fitzgerald (approx. ¾ mile away); The University of North Carolina at AshevilleBuncombe Turnpike (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Asheville.
Regarding Kiffin Y. Rockwell. Aviator Kiffin Rockwell was among four North Carolinians who flew for France in World War I. The others were James Baugham of Washington, Arthur Bluethenthal of Wilmington, and James McConnell of Carthage. Owing to the dedication of his brother, Colonel Paul Rockwell of Asheville, to his memory, Kiffin Rockwell’s story is the best known.
Rockwell was born to James Chester and Loula Ayres Rockwell in Newport, Tennessee, on September 20, 1892. His family, with the exception of his father who had died when he was one year old, moved to Asheville when Kiffin was fourteen. After spending summers with his grandfather, a Civil War veteran, he developed a strong interest in the army and in 1908 enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute. The next year Rockwell received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, but declined it because he believed he would not see wartime service serving in the Navy. Rockwell transferred to Washington and Lee University where graduated with a degree in journalism. After graduation he spent some time traveling out west and settled in Atlanta, where he got
On August 7, three days after war had broken out and President Woodrow Wilson had issued a neutrality proclamation for the United States, Kiffin and his brother Paul sailed for France and volunteered for the French army. As members of the French Foreign Legion, both men were severely wounded. After recovering from the thigh injury that ended his infantry service, Kiffin Rockwell became one of the first Americans to join the newly formed Lafayette Escadrille, an American volunteer aerial combat squadron. Twenty-eight days after he joined the squadron and with only brief training and no previous aviation experience, on May 18, 1916, Rockwell became the first American to shoot down an enemy plane. For the next four months he participated in every mission his squadron was assigned and shot down a second plane.
On September 23, 1916, during his first mission after returning from leave, Rockwell engaged in a dogfight with a German plane. He was shot in the chest, making him the second American killed in aerial combat. Rockwell was memorialized and honored in numerous ways both in France and the United States. During his graveside service at the base at Luxeuil, French aviator Georges Thenault, commandant of the Layfayette Escadrille said, “His courage was sublime.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. in Newport, Tennessee
Credits. This page was last revised on November 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 31, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 952 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 31, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.