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Winging It With The Red Baron

March 04, 1990

In the Book Review of Jan. 21, Don G. Campbell reviews Ella Leffland's book, "The Knight, Death and the Devil," a biography of Herman Goering. Campbell states that Goering inherited Baron Manfred von Richthofen's squadron. This is incorrect. Whenever Richthofen was away from his aerodrome (in the air on patrol or away for any other reason), the command was left to Hauptmann Reinhard.

The Red Baron was shot down on the morning of April 21, 1918, at approximately 11:45 a.m. When he failed to return to his base and it became obvious to his fellow pilots that he would not return, Reinhard removed from the squadron office safe a small note handwritten by Richthofen dated March 10, 1918, which said: "In the event that I do not return from a patrol, Oberleutnant Reinhard of Jasta (fighter squadron) 6 is to command the Geschwader (wing)."

Reinhard immediately and officially assumed command and held this position until his death in July of 1918, due to a plane crash. Soon after this, Herman Goering did indeed take command of Von Richthofen's squadron.

HAROLD R. RYNE, CULVER CITY

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