Jump to content
Paul S

The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread

Recommended Posts

I've been satisfying a curiosity by writing a paper about the first 24 Military Aviators--the men who wore the wing that Hap Arnold wore all his life. Getting an image of each of them wearing their wing is likely impossible, but I'm finding that some of those guys are really obscure and difficult to find at all on the net. Of course, a number of them were killed during the early days of flight and didn't live long enough to leave much about themselves behind, much less a nice portrait or candid photo.

 

Question: do any of you have some pictures of these guys in your files? I can post a list of the names if that would help, and indicate which ones I have had trouble finding. Preference would be for a picture of the man wearing his badge like Hap Arnold below; or just a good quality image of the man; or in a few cases any image at all.

 

If there is any interest in this thread I can provide more specific information as to needs. Thanks.

post-3515-1226192220.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I discovered when researching my family history a few years ago, the more you dig, the more you generally find. For instance there is a special section in Arlington where a number of these guys are interred, since a number of them died while in service.

 

Also, the New York Times seems to have published a number of articles about a number of these pilots chronicling their latest flights as they embarked on what appears to have been a never ending quest to set new speed, altitude, and endurance records. Some of the stories describe flights of little more than a Cessna fkight from Long Beach to Santa Monica, but worthy of a story in the NYT since all of it was so new.

 

One of the guys went out to execute his first loop, the plane broke, and he was killed when he plunged into San Diego harbor. Looks like about half of them were trained by the Wrights at College Park, while the other half were trained by Glen Curtiss in San Diego. It also appears that the two schools also trained a stream of civilians at the same time.

 

The Air Service cut their teeth against the Mexican border raiders in 1915, then began to work things out during WWI, then had to fight the Army inertia through the 20's and 30's. Quite a story to go along with the wings. No wonder there doesn't seem to be much uniformity in the WWI wings...the Air Corps itself was still trying to get its act together.

 

It seems I've always been attracted to obscure subjects. Many years ago my high school thesis or whatever it was called was on Mentor Graham, Lincoln's obscure teacher. Would you believe that I was the only one to come up with that subject?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul,

 

You may already have these books; however, here are a few titles that could be an immense help with your research:

 

1. Man Unafraid, by Stephen F. Tillman, Army Times Publishing Company, 1958, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 58-6008

 

2. How Our Army Grew Wings, by Charles deForest Chandler and Frank P. Lahm, The Ronald Press Company, 1943

 

3. The United States Army Air Arm - April 1861 to April 1917, by Juliette A. Hennessy, (1st edition) USAF Historical Division, 1958; (2nd edition) Office of Air Force History United States Air Force, 1985, Library of Congress Catalog Car Number 85-18965

 

-cp


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cliff,

 

Thank you for those references...I recognize two of the authors as two of the 24. Would you consider the Chandler-Lahm book better than the others? It should be closer to being original source material. And interesting that it was published during WWII.

 

Paul S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for those references...I recognize two of the authors as two of the 24. Would you consider the Chandler-Lahm book better than the others? It should be closer to being original source material. And interesting that it was published during WWII.

 

 

Paul, both "Man Unafraid" and "The United States Army Air Arm - April 1861 to April 1917" should be an absolute "must have" for anyone wanting to do the type of research you wish to do.

 

Good luck finding them. thumbsup.gif

 

-cp


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul here is Man Unafraid (click me).

 

Cliff thanks for the title!

 

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, Do you have the names of the 24 you can list here? Maybe some of us have something and we don't know it! Kim


A member of this fine site since December 16, 2006....Member # 60

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif
donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


 


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here they are Kim,

 

1. Henry H.Arnold

2. Paul W. Beck

3. Lewis H. Brereton

4. Joseph E. Carberry

5. Charles DeF. Chandler

6. Carleton G. Chapman

7. Herbert A. Dargue

8. Townsend F. Dodd

9. Eric L. Ellington

10. Benjamin D. Fulois

11. Harold Geiger

12. Lewis E Goodier, Jr.

13. Hugh M. Kelly

14. Roy C. Kirtland

15. Frank P. Lahm

16. Samuel H McLeary

17. Thomas DeW. Milling

18. Joseph C. Morrow, Jr.

19. Hollis L. Muller

20. Joseph D. Park

21. Henry B. Post

22. Fred C. Seydel

23. Walter R. Taliaferro

24. Robert H. Willis, Jr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Paul! Just curious but are they all Army?


A member of this fine site since December 16, 2006....Member # 60

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif
donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


 


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Paul! Just curious but are they all Army?

 

Think so, although Ellington was an Annapolis graduate. He was transferred to the Army by an executive order of President Taft according to my information.

 

Paul S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like you are writing an interesting paper.

 

Question: what is the pronunciation for Fulois?

 

 

Well, according to a Wikipedia posting, "Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest "Rhymes with to cloy: foo-loy'." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)"

 

My intent is not too ambitious, but would be to gather what I can find in the form of a one or two page bio on each of them, illustrated with whatever portraits or pictures I can find, preferably those that show them wearing their original badges, then lacking that, whatever good image(s) I can find.

 

The article found in Duncan Campbell's fine book gave me the idea to expand that account a bit further. I'm not interested in making it an involved historical work as that has been done before, but who knows, once into it there might be enough to take it further down a new track.

 

Paul S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Ellington was an Annapolis graduate...

Lewis H. Brereton also was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (class of 1911). I've never seen a picture of his first wings, but you will find plenty of material about him, as he had a long active service career before retiring as a lieutenant general in 1948.

 

You are on an interesting project...be looking forward to seeing your results.


donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

post-24355-0-52548100-1420800713.png

 

 

Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:


"To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,


For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods."

 

 

 

 

 

 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lewis H. Brereton also was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (class of 1911). I've never seen a picture of his first wings, but you will find plenty of material about him, as he had a long active service career before retiring as a lieutenant general in 1948.

 

You are on an interesting project...be looking forward to seeing your results.

 

Right you are...I had that but overlooked it in the reply. Have found a decent picture of Brereton in WWII uniform and should be able to find a better one...alas, no badge.

 

Here is a picture that shows 4 officers with Glenn Curtiss as their flight instructor, one of the 4 is Paul Beck. Will someone with some sharp eyes and a deeper knowledge than mine take a look at his badge and offer an opinion as to whether he is wearing one of the originals, or was there something else commonly worn at the time that looks like this? It appears to have some characteristics of the Aviator Badge, but there looks to be some other material above and below it:

post-3515-1226778449.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....take a look at his badge and offer an opinion as to whether he is wearing one of the originals, or was there something else commonly worn at the time that looks like this?

It looks something like an Army Distinguished Marksmanship Badge (however, neither my eyesight nor my monitor is very sharp). There were many varieties of these competition badges worn during the early 20th century and I doubt if anyone knows them all, but Emerson's Marksmanship in the U.S. Army is a good and accessible survey of this material.


donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

post-24355-0-52548100-1420800713.png

 

 

Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:


"To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,


For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods."

 

 

 

 

 

 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, Do you have the names of the 24 you can list here? Maybe some of us have something and we don't know it! Kim

 

Actually, there were 25 pilots who earned the Military Aviator rating before 1 January, 1914.

 

About 10 years after the third printing of Duncan Campbell's book in 1991 (see page 92) we managed to confirm that Colonel Charles B. Winder, Ohio National Guard, also qualifed as a MA on June 5, 1912 at the Army Aviation School in Augusta, GA. In addition to his MA rating, Colonel Winder held Aero Club of America F.A.I. Aviator Certificate #130.

 

-cp ;)


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, there were 25 pilots who earned the Military Aviator rating before 1 January, 1914.

 

About 10 years after the third printing of Duncan Campbell's book in 1991 (see page 92) we managed to confirm that Colonel Charles B. Winder, Ohio National Guard, also qualifed as a MA on June 5, 1912 at the Army Aviation School in Augusta, GA. In addition to his MA rating, Colonel Winder held Aero Club of America F.A.I. Aviator Certificate #130.

 

-cp ;)

 

 

Thanks for the additional information, Cliff. I'll add him to the list. I think you had speculated that Frederic E. Humphreys may have held that 25th badge...have you been able to clarify his status?

 

It's interesting to trace some of the living relatives when possible and see if they might have something to contribute. I contacted a distant relative of a fallen WWII airman recently and was greeted warmly with some amazing history. He had flown with my father in the same Group, but didn't make it.

 

Paul S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the additional information, Cliff. I'll add him to the list. I think you had speculated that Frederic E. Humphreys may have held that 25th badge...have you been able to clarify his status?

 

Paul S

 

Hi Paul,

 

The 1913 Military Aviator badge worn by Frederic E. Humphreys in the portrait at Fort Belvoir will probably always remain a mystery. We could not find any record that would verify he was officially qualified to wear one, and his daughter was unable to confirm it; therefore, in my mind that suggests the badge he wore for the portrait would not be an original 1913 example struck at the Rock Island Arsenal. More probable, it was a post-1918 facsimile.

 

think.gif So how did he get away with wearing it? Who can say for sure but without question he was a pioneer military pilot ... and sometimes 'rank' really does have its privileges. ;)

 

-cp


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.

Should anybody be interested, standing on the fare left of the photo below is Colonel Charles B. Warner, Ohio National Guard. Until just recently, and probably because he was in the National Guard rather than the Regular Army, Colonel Warner has been overlooked by historians for his having actually received a Military Aviator rating in 1912. Colonal Warner was 33-years old at the time.

 

Also in the center of the photo is another Military Aviator, Thomas DeWitt Milling.

post-4542-1229622782.jpg


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an interesting picture of Arnold and Milling. I've liked it for some time due to its clarity and that 2 of the early Military Aviators are shown in period costume. But looking more closely at it...I think is was a posed picture probably dating to the WWII period...these men are older, perhaps in their fifties or older. Does anyone know the story behind this photo?

 

Paul S

post-3515-1229731364.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is an interesting picture of Arnold and Milling. I've liked it for some time due to its clarity and that 2 of the early Military Aviators are shown in period costume. But looking more closely at it...I think is was a posed picture probably dating to the WWII period...these men are older, perhaps in their fifties or older. Does anyone know the story behind this photo?

 

Paul S

 

Paul,

 

Judging from the goggles and leather helments that they are wearing that picture was taken sometime between 1935 and 1940.

 

-CP


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might try the book They Also Flew by Lee Arbon. It is about enlisted pilots but many of the pilots you are looking for are mentioned and pictured in it. There is a lot of interesting stuff on the early training or actually the lack of training.


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul,

 

I stand corrected. That picture was taken in Sacramento, CA, 1931.

 

Sorry,

 

-CP :wacko:


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This MA badge belonged to MG Louis H. Brereton who had it made after losing the original example prior to WW2 but being young, nervous and too inexperienced at the time to ask, I've no idea where it was made. pinch.gif

post-4542-1229785822.jpg


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.