Friday April 26 1917. Leading B Flight myself and one other (Captain Larry Howell) take-off at 0630 to attack a high value balloon target that we burned the previous day. Apparently the devious Huns have moved up another yesterday afternoon in a attempt to maintain their flow of information. Cecil Lewis is assigned as support. The approach to the balloon is, besides the AA, without incident but near the target the air is filthy with other aircraft specks buzzing around. I assign Howell to attack the balloon which he does while I fly cover. Looking over the side I see he is successful and fire a flare to form up and circle and wait while watching all the other aircraft in the area. After a few minutes I do not see him and start for friendly lines thinking he went on ahead. After several minutes I see a speck behind me trying to catch up. Assuming it's Howell I circle back to allow him to form up but the shape looks funny and I have to look twice to realize its a V-Strutter! I get in two good bursts and hole his tank and he tries to get away now but there is no outrunning an Se. I close up on his rear and finish him off. Thought I had more pics but I guess I was hitting the wrong key.
Back at base Howell is missing and listed as "Destroyed by enemy action" and killed. Downed by AA fire? Lewis returns ok. I put in a claim for victory #15 and, because Howell was killed we may have to go after the balloon again. The Debrief wasn't entirely clear.