Frank Luke was born on May 19, 1897, in Phoenix, Arizona. He enlisted in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps on September 25, 1917, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on January 23, 1918, in San Diego, California. Lt Luke sailed for France in March 1918, and attended advanced training at the U.S. Aviation Instruction Center at Issoudun, France, from April to July 1918. He joined the 27th Aero Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group on July 25, 1918, and was credited with destroying 18 enemy aircraft, all during the month of September 1918, plus 3 more that were unconfirmed (14 of these were enemy balloons, giving him the nickname "the Arizona Balloon Buster"). Frank Luke was killed on September 29, 1918, when he crash-landed his aircraft near Murvaux, France, and then drew his pistol against German soldiers he had just been strafing from the air. He is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France. Luke AFB, Arizona, was named in his honor in 1941.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
After having previously destroyed a number of enemy aircraft within 17 days he voluntarily started on a patrol after German observation balloons. Though pursued by 8 German planes which were protecting the enemy balloon line, he unhesitatingly attacked and shot down in flames 3 German balloons, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and the hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended to within 50 meters of the ground, and flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux opened fire upon enemy troops, killing 6 and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest.