American pilot, Jonathon Reagle volunteered to assist the French air force during World War I.
Reagle was shot down towards the end of the war. He wasn't taken down by enemy fire though. Thousands of years ago an alien space craft drifted close to the planet Earth. The alien craft hit a cosmic energy storm that tore the ship apart. The ship was made of an incredible metal and small scraps of the ship remained in earth's orbit. The cosmic energy irradiated the ship's remnants for centuries, in effect charging the already unique ore with almost mystical properties.
Over the millenia, small bits of the ship were eventually pulled into orbit and crashed to earth. In 1918, a gasket from the debris, that had been absorbing cosmic energy for thousands of years was finally pulled into orbit and started rocketing to earth. The small metal ring sliced through Reagle's plane like a white hot knife. It slammed into the bedrock and Johnathon crashed his plane just a few hundred yards from the crater. He was under heavy enemy fire as he ran to the crater to see what hit him. To his surprise, he found a small metal ring with a faint blue glow sizzling at the center of the crater. Most of the pilots were rather superstitious and as was their custom to retreive an object (ideally the cause) of a survivable crash. Reagle took off his glove and picked up the ring, as if fate had a hand in it, he put the ring on his finger instead of in his pocket, as enemy machine gun fire rained down into the crater. Reagle should've been riddled with bullets, but he emmerged from the smoke without a scratch and flew into the air with out the aid of a plane.
The French brass put him in charge of his squadron, not willing to look a gift superhero in the mouth. They called him Johnny Majestic and his squadron the Flying Aces. They dominated the French sky for what little time they had left in the war.