GERONIMO! !  - During the Civil War the use of lighter than air balloons was a new way  to  observe the movements and positions of infantry, artillery and cavalry.  A half century la
ter, once again the hot air balloons were used by the American Expeditionary Force in World War I.    James Crowder, of Dublin, was assigned to a company of balloonists.  His experiences, to say the least were exciting, dangerous and on one occasion nearly deadly.  Often the balloonists could only remain in the air for just a few minutes before they were forced to land because of incoming German fighter planes.

It was during the offensive to take control of the Argonne Forest that Crowder and his company were sitting 1800 feet above the battle field attempting to gaze through the smoke  to ascertain the position of the German army.   German gunners fired phosphorous coated incendiary bullets at the balloons.    Several rounds hit Crowder's balloon setting it on fire.   There was no choice but to bail out.  With the balloon on fire, the men put on their parachutes and jumped from their basket to safety.    Macon Telegraph, May 24, 1919.