Sunday, June 23, 2019

Carlos Meyer Baldó, the only Venezuelan and Latin American to fly with the Red Baron

He was born in Maracaibo, (Zulia state), in 1895 and thirteen years later, moved with his family to reside in Hamburg (Germany). When the European conflict broke out in 1914, he enlisted as a foreign volunteer in the Cavalry Dragoons Regiment Nº09 of the German Army.

One year later having served with fearlessness and valor on the Russian front, he was awarded the rank of Lieutenant. Later, he entered the Gotha School of Military Aviation, Fea-3, and in spite of having to master an entirely different weapon of war, he earned his Wings in May of 1917 and joined Battle Squadron Nº11. 

This unit, together with numbers 4, 6 and 10, constituted the world famous Squadron of the Ace of Aces, Baron Manfred von Richtofen (Red Baron). His aerial victories earned him The Iron Cross of the Second and First Class, the Hanseatic Cross. 

Having met the rigorous requirements of the German Army, he returned to Venezuela in 1928. The government honored his military rank as a Flying Lieutenant, named him Subinspector of Aerial Weapons and sent him on a technical trip of discovery to the United States. His purpose was to observe and report on the progress of the rising North American aviation at the Aerial Institutes of Mitchell Field, Roosevelt Field, Randolph Field, Shreveport, Selman Field and Wright Field. Their findings were reported in great detail in their remarkable publication Trip of Studies.

He died tragically at 38 years of age, November 27, 1933, while he was piloting a Stearman airplane from the Maracay Airfield in Aragua State.

He would have, I'm sure, some strong words for the current government in Venezuela.

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