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Americans at War in Foreign Forces

                                          1914 -1945

Foreign Burial American War Dead

The Escadrille Cherifienne

From Americans at War in Foreign Forces:
​By 1924, the Rif War had seemingly entered a new phase with the introduction of chemical weapons from the Rif side and the entrance of France on the Spanish side. It had also gained increasing international attention. The French, who also had interests in Morocco, brought 300,000 troops to the battle and lost an estimated 12,000, but the war dragged on. Airplanes were added to the Spanish side late in 1924, and in July 1925 the Escadrille Americaine was formed. Its name quickly evolved into the Escadrille Chérifienne, and it included a number of the flyers of the Lafayette Escadrille, including Paul Rockwell. Other Americans of the Legion volunteered as machine gunners and observers. The fearless foot soldier Charles Sweeny emerged as its commander. The Escadrille was not popular with the American government, which, at one point, threatened to replace citizenship with imprisonment for its American members. And the Rif war became increasingly unpopular with the French people. The Escadrille flew only for seven weeks. Lacking an opposing air force, the largest danger for its pilots was to be shot down from the ground, or to fall for mechanical reasons, and be taken captive with the prospect of certain death by torture. That never happened, however, and, in 470 missions, it suffered no loss of life.