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Looking back to the first around the world flight

Workers construct the World Cruisers at the Douglas Company factory in Santa Monica, Calif. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photograph)
World Flight Crews (Left to Right): Lt. Jack Harding, Lt. Erik Nelson, Lt. Leigh Wade, Maj. Frederick Martin, 1st Lt. Leslie Arnold, Lt. Lowell Smith, and Lt. Le Clair Schulze. They are wearing black armbands in honor of former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, who had recently passed away. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photograph)
World Fliers in front of the Chicago at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photograph)
The New Orleans hoisted on the beach to dry out at Reykjavik, Iceland. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photograph)
The Douglas World Cruisers at a refueling site at Allahabad, India. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force photograph)

On Sept. 6, 1924, eight airmen departed in their Douglas World Cruisers, specially built by the Douglas Company in California and tested at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, from Lake Washington in Seattle, Wash., heading westward for Asia via Alaska for one of the most sensational aviation events of the 1920s.

This around-the-world flight was the first globe-circling flight in aviation history and required logistical support pre-positions at locations along the route. Of the original eight airmen, two would not finish the first leg and two of the original aircraft would not finish the trip.

These photographs for Around the World Flight are laid out in roughly in chronological order to walk readers through the airmen’s history-setting globe-circling flight. Awarded the 1924 Mackay Trophy for the flight, the airmen were decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal in 1925.

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