Godfrey DeCourcelles Chevalier

LtCdr, Aviation Pioneer, USN, WWI

    Born in Providence, R.I., 7 March 1889, Godfrey DeCourcelles Chevalier graduated from the Naval Academy in June 1910. He was appointed a Naval Air Pilot 8 November 1915 and a Naval Aviator 7 November 1918. In 1916 he participated in the installation of the first real catapult used in the Navy and piloted the first plane to be launched by catapult, from North Carolina. In November 1917 he commanded the first naval air station in France, at Dunkerque and for World War I service was awarded the Distinguished Service medal. In 1922 he was attached to Langley, in connection with fitting her out. On 26 October 1922 Lieutenant Commander Chevalier flew plane No. 606 which made the first landing on Langley's deck. This distinguished pioneer of naval aviation died at the Norfolk Naval Hospital 14 November 1922 as a result of injuries sustained in an airplane crash.

     Two warships have been named in his honor, the USS Chevalier, DD-451 and the USS Chevalier DD-805.  The first, which his widow sponsored during construction, was sunk in action during World War Two. The second served in World War Two and was then decommissioned and sold to the Korean Navy.

Source: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

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