Eugene Jacques Bullard was born in Columbus, Georgia, of a father who was a former slave from Martinique, and a Creek Indian mother. As a boy, Bullard ran away to live a gypsy's lifestyle. He immigrated to France and in 1914 joined the Foreign Legion. Following a subsequent enlistment in the French 170th Infantry, he won his wings in 1917, becoming the first black military pilot. He flew the Spad VII in compat with Spa 93, Group Brocard, claiming two vistories, a Pfatz and a Fokker DR I in the Verdun Region.
His decorations included the Legion of Honor, Chevalier Medal Militaire, Croix de Guerre, Croix de Combattant 1914-18, Medaille Commemoration Francaise, 1914-18, and Medaille Verdun. After his World War I service, Bullard settled in Paris and operated a popular nightclub and gymnasium until World War II when he joined the French underground and resistance movement. Wounded at Orleans, he was smuggled out of Europe to the United States, as France fell. In 1954, the French government invited him to re-light the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triumphe. Bullard lived his last years in New York. He was buried with full colors in the Federation of French War Veterans Cemetery, Flushing, and Long Island.
Corporal Bullard, the world's first black military pilot, was enshrined August 26, 1989, in recognition of his achievement and his service in to World Wars.