When the world’s most successful fighter pilot celebrated his 25th birthday, in May 1917, it would be his last. He had gotten his first ride in an airplane not two years before, but by the time he was 25, Richthofen, known as the Red Baron, had already accumulated 52 aerial victories. A couple months later, in July, he almost met his end when a bullet carved a groove in his skull, temporarily blinding and disabling him. His luck ran out near Amiens in northern France two weeks before his 26th birthday: After 80 confirmed victories, he was killed during a low-level pursuit by a bullet many believe was fired by a soldier on the ground.
Photos from: "What Were They Doing at 25?" »