Eugene Jacques Bullard
The following is a brief biography of a total badass that was posted to the Something Awful forums this week. This guy is so badass that I had to make him BotW, but I can't improve upon this story in any way so I'm just going to cut-and-paste the original post below.
If anyone knows the name of the goon who posted this, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.
How can a man named Eugene be cool? By being fucking awesome. Eugene Bullard was born black, poor and in the South in 1895. Now, being black, poor, and in the South positively sucked in 1895, and Bullard picked up and got the fuck out, running away at the age of eight. Bullard had heard that France was a good place to be. Undetered by something as minor as the Atlantic Ocean, Bullard stowed away on a ship to the UK, arriving in Scotland. He was twelve. Bullard then supported himself by being an all around badass and boxer, then joining a traveling vaudville group, touring Europe and Russia. When Bullard arrived in Paris around the age of 17 or so, he stayed.
Then World War One breaks out. Not one to put up with any crap from the dirty Hun, Bullard joins the French Foreign Legion. Luckily for Bullard, he is apparently bulletproof or something, as he survives battles that wipe out a staggering number of his comrades and is awarded the Croix de guerre for bravery in battle.
At this point, Bullard is transfered to the Lafayette Flying Corps in the French Air Force, and is considered to be the first black combat pilot ever. Bullard manages to continue to not die, which is a pretty major accomplishment in WWI, and is credited with shooting down two Germans. Then some French officer mouths off to Bullard, who decks the idiot son of a bitch. Now, back in the dark days of WWI, when the French troops in the trenches were a lot smarter than the idiots running things, the enlisted men were starting to ask questions like "Why is the general staff, who are roughly six miles from the nearest german, asking us to charge into certain death?"
In order to put a stop to these annoying questions, the French had fairly harsh punishments for any sign of insubordination, namely shooting you. But Bullard was so fucking awesome they let him transfer back to an infantry unit, probably assuming that he would die there. Bullard had other ideas, and survived the war.
Fighter pilot, war hero, general badass. Now the war was over, and it was time to pimp out like a motherfucker. Bullard opened a nightclub in Paris, married a Countess (!) had two daughters, and partied hard with the likes of Josephine Baker.
If you want to know who Josephine Baker is click here (not safe for work).
However, the fucking Krauts just couldn't let Bullard be, and invaded France during WWII. Bullard, who spoke fluent German (that's three languages so far, for those of you who are counting) offered to stay behind to spy on the filthy Hun. However, when the Blitzkrieg was about to take Paris, Bullard spirited his two daughters out of the city and south to safety. Bullard, technically a civilian, found a rifle and joined in the defense of the city of Orleans. Bullard was injured in the spine, but shrugged off the injury to such a minor organ, and escaped to the United States, again finding the North Atlantic to be but a minor obstacle.
Bullard would end his days in Harlem, working during the day as an elevator operator. Some would say this was an ignominous end for such a man, but I imagine every day Bullard woke up without any fucking Germans trying to kill him was a pretty good day.
In 1954, Bullard was invited back to France to be one of three men to relight the Eternal Flame at the French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Bullard died in 1961 was buried in Queens with full military honors by the French government.
In 1994, Bullard was posthumously commisioned as a Second Lieutenant in the USAF.
He would have been one hundred and ten years old this week.
Happy birthday, Mr. Bullard.
Here are some links:
The Black Swallow of Death
The Complete List
About the Author