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Harold Ernest Goettler (July 21, 1890 – October 6, 1918) was a U.S. Army Air Service aviator killed in action on October 6, 1918 while locating the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division during World War I.[1] He died of wounds resulting from German fire from the ground during the flight.[2] For his actions, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor. He attended the University of Chicago, and the Harold E. Goettler Political Institutions Prize awarded to University of Chicago undergraduates is named in his honor.

Harold Ernest Goettler
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Medal of Honor recipient Harold E. Goettler
Born(1890-07-21)July 21, 1890
Chicago, Illinois
DiedOctober 6, 1918(1918-10-06) (aged 28)
KIA near Binarville, France
Place of burial
Graceland Cemetery,Chicago, Cook County,Illinois
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Service
Years of service1917-1918
RankFirst Lieutenant
Unit50th Aero Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsMedal of Honor


Medal of Honor citationEdit

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, pilot, U.S. Air Service, 50th Aero Squadron, Air Service. Place and date: Near Binarville, France, October 6, 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: July 21, 1890, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 56, W.D., 1922.


1st. Lt. Goettler, with his observer, 2d Lt. Erwin R. Bleckley, 130th Field Artillery, left the airdrome late in the afternoon on their second trip to drop supplies to a battalion of the 77th Division which had been cut off by the enemy in the Argonne Forest. Having been subjected on the first trip to violent fire from the enemy, they attempted on the second trip to come still lower in order to get the packages even more precisely on the designated spot. In the course of this mission the plane was brought down by enemy rifle and machinegun fire from the ground, resulting in the instant death of 1st. Lt. Goettler. In attempting and performing this mission 1st. Lt. Goettler showed the highest possible contempt of personal danger, devotion to duty, courage and valor.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Anton, Todd W., and Bill Nowlin. When Football Went to War. Chicago. Ill.: Triumph Books, 2013, p. 222.
  2. ^ Lost Battalion, Flying Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1931.
  3. ^ U.S. Air Force: Goettler Medal of Honor citation

External linksEdit

  • "50th Aero Squadron Harold Goettler and Erwin Bleckley to be Honored October 7, 2009". Archived from the original on 2010-02-02. Retrieved September 29, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  • Harold Ernest Goettler at Find a Grave