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Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, right, speaks with a group of Air Force civic leaders, unpaid advisors, key communicators, and advocates for the Air Force, after the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, right, speaks with a group of Air Force civic leaders, unpaid advisors, key communicators, and advocates for the Air Force, after the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, right, speaks with a group of Air Force civic leaders, unpaid advisors, key communicators, and advocates for the Air Force, after the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, right, speaks with a group of Air Force civic leaders, unpaid advisors, key communicators, and advocates for the Air Force, after the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

French and American military and civilian representatives attend the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. During the ceremony, the men and women attending paid tribute to the Americans who served with died fighting for the French in World War I.

French and American military and civilian representatives attend the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. During the ceremony, the men and women attending paid tribute to the Americans who served with died fighting for the French in World War I. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

French veterans bear the colors during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. The ceremony honored the more than 200 Americans who fought for France in the Lafayette Flying Corps prior to the U.S. entry into World War I.  The ceremony also paid tribute to the 68 American Airmen who died while serving with the unit while highlighting the 238-year alliance between the U.S. and France with their long history of shared values and sacrifice.

French veterans bear the colors during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. The ceremony honored the more than 200 Americans who fought for France in the Lafayette Flying Corps prior to the U.S. entry into World War I. The ceremony also paid tribute to the 68 American Airmen who died while serving with the unit while highlighting the 238-year alliance between the U.S. and France with their long history of shared values and sacrifice. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

John Yellow Bird Steel, representing the Souix nation, offers a traditional native American incantation during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. More than 200 Americans flew with France in the Lafayette Flying Corps prior to U.S. entry into World War I. Airmen from the U.S. Air Force and their French counterparts, along with civilians from both countries, during the ceremony to honor the men who served and the sacrifices of the 68 American airmen who died fighting for the French in World War I.

John Yellow Bird Steel, representing the Souix nation, offers a traditional native American incantation during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. More than 200 Americans flew with France in the Lafayette Flying Corps prior to U.S. entry into World War I. Airmen from the U.S. Air Force and their French counterparts, along with civilians from both countries, during the ceremony to honor the men who served and the sacrifices of the 68 American airmen who died fighting for the French in World War I. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

A World War I-era Stearman PT-17 biplane flies over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. In addition to the Stearman, four U.S. Air Force fifth generation F-22 Raptor fighters, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber and four French air force Mirage 2000Ns performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation.

A World War I-era Stearman PT-17 biplane flies over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. In addition to the Stearman, four U.S. Air Force fifth generation F-22 Raptor fighters, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber and four French air force Mirage 2000Ns performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Philippe Rogers, land forces planner for the U.S. military delegation to NATO, salutes as Taps plays during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Philippe Rogers, land forces planner for the U.S. military delegation to NATO, salutes as Taps plays during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guard fire team from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, awaits the command to perform a 21-gun salute during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Airmen from the U.S. Air Force and their French counterparts, along with civilians from both countries, paid tribute to the more than 200 men who served with and the sacrifices of the 68 American airmen who died fighting for the French prior to the Americans 1917 entry into World War I.

A U.S. Air Force Honor Guard fire team from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, awaits the command to perform a 21-gun salute during the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial 100th anniversary ceremony in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Airmen from the U.S. Air Force and their French counterparts, along with civilians from both countries, paid tribute to the more than 200 men who served with and the sacrifices of the 68 American airmen who died fighting for the French prior to the Americans 1917 entry into World War I. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

Four U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I.  In addition to the F-22s, a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber, four French air force Mirage 2000Ns and a World War I-era Steerman PT-17 biplane performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation. The ceremony also paid tribute to the 68 American airmen who died while serving with the unit.

Four U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. In addition to the F-22s, a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber, four French air force Mirage 2000Ns and a World War I-era Steerman PT-17 biplane performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation. The ceremony also paid tribute to the 68 American airmen who died while serving with the unit. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber flies over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. In addition to the B-52, four U.S. Air Force fifth generation F-22 Raptor fighters, four French air force Mirage 2000Ns and a World War I-era Steerman PT-17 biplane performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber flies over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially engaged in World War I. In addition to the B-52, four U.S. Air Force fifth generation F-22 Raptor fighters, four French air force Mirage 2000Ns and a World War I-era Steerman PT-17 biplane performed flyovers during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Layfette Escadrille's formation. (Joshua DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)

Almost a full year before the United States entered World War I, a group of Americans, many of them fighter pilots, traveled to France to help fight the Germans.

The nearly 200 men who served in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I were honored Wednesday in Paris, during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the unit.

Sixty-eight of the men who flew for France were killed before the end of the war. Their names are recorded on an arch at Marnes-la-Coquette flanked by French and American flags.

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