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Who was:

Billy Mitchell
the father of American Aviation

Excerpts from:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Edition 1986,
Micropedia, Volume 8, page 195

Mitchell, William, byname Billy Mitchell

(Born Dec. 29, 1879, Nice Fr., died Feb. 19, 1936, New York City)

U.S. Army officer who early advocated a separate U.S. air force and preparedness in military aviation. He was court-martialled for his outspoken views and did not live to see the fulfillment during World War II of many of his prophecies...

...In 1915 he was assigned to the aviation section of the signal corps, and during WorlaWar I he became the outstanding U.S. combat air commander. In September 1918 he commanded a French-U.S. air armada of almost 1,500 planes - the largest concentration of air power up to that time...

After the war Mitchell was appointed assistant chief of the air service. He became a strong proponent of an independent air force and of unified control of air power, both of which were opposed by the army general staff and the navy... The climax came in September 1925, when the loss of the navy dirigible "Shenandoah" in a storm inspired [Mr. Mitchell] publicly to accuse the War and Navy departments of "incopetency, criminal neglegence, and almost treasonable administration of the national defense." In December an army court-marchal convicted him of insubordination. Sentenced to suspension from rank and duty for five years, he resigned from the army (Feb. 1, 1926).

Nevertheless, Billy Mitchell was awarded many decorations and honours during his lifetime, and in 1946 the U.S. Congress authorized a special medal in his honour. It was presented to his son in 1948 by the chief of staff of the newly created U.S. Air Force...

[End quote].

Bibiograhpy after the article mentiones also a book by Ruth Mitchell: "My Brother Bill, the life of General "Billy" Mitchel".

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Last revised: Nov. 26, 1997