Arthur R. Christie
Arthur R. Christie
Collection of Mike O'Neal, 5-17-07

by Mike O'Neal, 5-17-07
Born 29 July 1890, Arthur Reed Christie was the first son of Arthur W. and Elizabeth Christie of East Orange, New Jersey. His father was employed as an electrician before the war, raising his two sons on North Maple Avenue in East Orange.

Arthurs early life is undocumented, but he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1913 and learned to fly at North Island, San Diego, California which places him among some of the very first military aviators in the U.S.. He transferred to the Air Service in May 1915 and by 1916, under the command of General Pershing, was with the Air Service chasing Poncho Villa in Mexico.

He earned military aviator certficate # 323 and was later posted to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, where he was placed in charge of flying for several month. In February 1918, he sailed for France where he assumed command of the 99th Aero Squadron on 30th March. The unit was declared operational on 22 June and Christie lead the first mission over the lines. "The Flying Buffaloes" would see several New Jersey residents including Whiting Anthony from Allendale, Benjiman Atwater from Red Bank and Henry Hovey Nutt from Cliffside Park who was among the first group of pilots assigned to the squadron at it's formation

Christie remained with the 99th until the summer of 1918. On 27 July, he was tapped to command the Vth Corps Observation Group then comprised on the 88th, 99th and 104th Aero Squadrons, all flying the Salmson 2A2 and French Escadrille SPA Bi. 42 which was equipped with the two place SPAD XVI.

No longer in an active combat role, Christie lead the 5th COG for the duration of the war.

Following the Armistice, he remained in the service. At the time of the 1920 census, he was listed in Washington, D.C., still in the Air Services employ. While little is known of his post war life, he later worked for Bankers Trust in New York City in the early 1930's.

Arthur Reed Christie passed away in December 1964 in Barnstable, Massachussetts.

Arthur R. Christie

EB Trustee Christie Was Wright Field C.O.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, March, 1961, Number 65
     Christie, Arthur R. --- Born East Orange, N. J., College of William & Mary; 2nd. Lieut. U. S. Infantry, 1912. Signal Corps Aviation School, San Diego, Calif., 1914. F. A. I. Certificate No. 323. Expert Certificate No 40.
     Military Aviator, Pilot 1st. Aero Squadron, Pershing Expedition, Mexico. C. O. Chicago & Memphis Aviation Schools, 1916-17. Organized and first C.O. Wilbur Wright Field, 1917. C.O. 2nd A. I. C. Tours, France, 1917. Chief Air Services - 7th and 5th Army Corps, France, 1918. Member Joint Army & Navy Aero Board and Liason Officer Naval Air Service, Wash., 1919-20. C.O. Micthell Field, 1920. Air Attache Japan, 1921-22. Bankers Trust Co., New York and Paris.
     United Aircraft Corp., 1939-58, (Washington Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Div.) Aviation Consultant - The Martin Co., Thomas Ramo Wooldridge Inc.; United Aircraft Corp.; Flight Refueling; Burton-Rodgers - 1958-59. Manager, Wash. Office The Martin Co., Oct. 1, 1959 to date. Member - Early Birds, Quiet Birdmen, Daedalions, Wings Club, Army & Navy Club, Burning Tree, ex President Aero Club of Washington, etc.

     Col. Arthur R. Christie will be presented with E. B. Plaque July 6, 1961, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. Police at gate IC will direct E. B.'s to meeting place. You should arrive before 10:30 A.M. Bring your E. B. cap and card
     Col. Christie was first commanding officer of Wilbur Wright Field.
     The Air Force will have an interesting show for the attending Air Force Cadets from Denver Air Force Academy and Early Birds. We have been invited to this occasion and we should have a nice turnout. Hope to see you there. - Charles A. Arens, Sec.

I have lost this picture from a 1961 CHIRP. If you can help, please contact me.
Arthur R. Christie receiving bronze plaque fromE. A. Goff at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, July 6, 1961. The base is now quite different than when Early Bird Christie was the first commanding officer of Wilbur Wright field in 1917.


By Capt. Benjamin D. Foulois, Signal Corps, U.S. Army
Harold and many other Early Birds are mentioned in this story.
You can access it by clicking on:
First Aero Squadron

1st Aero Squadron
1st Aero Squadron
1st Aero Squadron
Library of Congress Collection, 9-14-07

Arthur R. Christie,died in 1964
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1993

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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