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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread


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Cliff, what a wonderful picture of Lahm and Fulois...hadn't seen that one before. Nor do I recall seeing a picture of Fulois in profile...big head, may explain his success even without much formal training? From reading of him, I've tended to like him, even though I think he could rub people the wrong way. Then again, I suppose most of us have that capacity at one time or another.

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:crying: Paul, I read you loud and clear since I too have a terrible knack (sui generis) for doing the same thing. It's not intentionally mind you, it's only because I've never been good at playing both sides of the fence.

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:unsure:

Below is another picture you may not have seen of Captain Charles DeForest Chandler. It was taken in 1912 when he was Commanding Officer of the first Army Aviation School at College Park, MD. He was also the first Officer in Charge of the Aeronautical Division Signal Corps.

 

A few interesting facts about Chandler:

 

His first airplane flight was in 1909 with Wilbur Wright but he received the bulk of his pilot training in 1912 from Hap Arnold and Thomas DeWitt Milling. What I find note worthy is that all three men qualified for their Military Aviator Rating on the same day, Wednesday, 5 July 1912.

 

Something else, on Monday, 16 October, 1913, Chandler was the first Army pilot to receive a Military Aviator badge.

:wink2:

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Paul,

 

Great thread to start. Good luck.

so.mostyank

Thanks, I've really enjoyed this topic. It has drawn input from several remarkably well versed aviation experts that have been very gracious in sharing their knowledge.

 

I started this project thinking that there had to have been some kind of brotherhood amongst these men that carried through the subsequent decades, all of them tied together in a sense, by those very rare first MA badges. Although some of that camaraderie did exist, for many it appears to have been absent. That's likely due to their having lost about one-third of their fellows in early crashes; but also the apparently loose brotherhood was due to the way they viewed flying airplanes. To them, the early ones, flying was just another acquired skill for a career Army officer to attain. That's probably the most surprising revelation I've taken away from participating in this thread.

 

If you have the opportunity, find a copy of "Command Decision", a 1948 WWII era film. Watch it a few times to take in the detail. A couple of the soliloquies between the Clark Gable and Walter Pidgeon characters drive home the connection and contributions these early aviators made to what ultimately developed into the Army Air Force of WWII...and some of the participants in WWII were several of these same men.

 

PS

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There is a long panoramic photo from Texas City from about 1913 showing troops and six Wright-type aircraft. Has anyone identified the men and planes in the photo?

That is the First Aero Squadron which was transferred from Augusta, Georgia to Texas City, Texas on February 28, 1913.

 

A larger and much clearer image of that photo is at this website:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/pan.6a33307/

 

The seven airplanes pictured:

Wright B, SC #3

Burgess-Wright F, SC #5

Burgess Tractor H, SC #9

Wright C, SC #11

Wright C, SC #12

Wright C Trainer, SC #16

 

Some of the officers who were at Texas City when the photo was taken:

Capt. Charles DeForest Chandler

Capt. Frederick B. Hennessy

Lt. Loren H. Call

Lt. Eric L. Ellington

Lt. Harry Graham

Lt. Roy C. Kirkland

Lt. Thomas DeWitt Milling

Lt. William C. Sherman

 

 

 

 

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1913 Military Aviator badge of Lt. Hollis LeRoy Muller

 

Made by the Ordnance Department, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois

Courtesy: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force collection

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Here is a 1945 picture showing General Hap Arnold, one of the first Military Aviators who qualified on 5 July 1912, shaking hands with General Curtis LeMay, first commander of the Strategic Air Command. An interesting picture of 2 top Air Force commanders having between them an unbroken experience line from military aviation's beginning to the establishment of SAC.

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^_^

Although they are not in uniform, here is a wonderful picture of Henry H. Arnold and Thomas DeW Milling talking to C. Murvin Wood, a well known pioneer civilian aviator. The picture is dated August 13, 1913. That is a Moisant Monoplane in the background.

 

Cliff

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Hi guys,

I just finished reading this thread and was very much impressed with the quality of knowledge that was brought to the table. I have done some minor research on this subject some time ago due to the fact that I found a small grouping from a Signal Corps man named Ward Rice who was from Pennsylvania, where I currently reside. What I can gather is that he was one of the first mechanics who worked on the Wright and Curtis machines. I also found an article that was in the New York Times dates October 22, 1912 in which it is stated that the Lt. Harold Geiger and Cpl. Ward Rice, of the Army Aviation School, narrowly escaped death when their hydro-aerolane fell into the Potomac River from a height of 100 feet. Their plane's wings were disabled by a sudden gust of wind. They were rescued by launch and neither were harmed. I know this thread is about the M.A. but does anyone know anything about Ward Rice ? Thank you for any help.

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I was told to post this portrait photo here.

 

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I had been trying to find this man's identity for a while. He was with a group of photos, this one and other were both address to a Col. Waddell F. Smith

The other photo (the second one, below) is of a Major General John Bernard Brooks.

 

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Whom I searched, and while doing so, found a site called The early birds of aviation and it had a list of early aviators.

Seeing as I couldn't make out the entire signature of the photo I tried searching for just the first three letters of what I could read of the last name; GOO.

I see that there are two. A Goodier and a Goodale. I can also make out an E in the middle, possibly for his middle name of Edward?

Could this photo be of Lewis Edward Goodier, Jr?

 

Here is Lewis Edward Goodier, Jr's father, and I gotta say, it's a pretty good resemblance.

 

GoodierLewisE.jpg

-Sarah

 

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Hi guys,

I just finished reading this thread and was very much impressed with the quality of knowledge that was brought to the table. I have done some minor research on this subject some time ago due to the fact that I found a small grouping from a Signal Corps man named Ward Rice who was from Pennsylvania, where I currently reside. What I can gather is that he was one of the first mechanics who worked on the Wright and Curtis machines. I also found an article that was in the New York Times dates October 22, 1912 in which it is stated that the Lt. Harold Geiger and Cpl. Ward Rice, of the Army Aviation School, narrowly escaped death when their hydro-aerolane fell into the Potomac River from a height of 100 feet. Their plane's wings were disabled by a sudden gust of wind. They were rescued by launch and neither were harmed. I know this thread is about the M.A. but does anyone know anything about Ward Rice ? Thank you for any help.

Glad you posted here. I am confident your query will be seen and addressed.

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Not from the original batch of 24 aviators, but an interesting period photograph of early aviation uniform/insignia. Around 1927

Maj. Gen. Mason Patrick

 

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Originally an Engineer. In May 1918 he was appointed by General John J. Pershing to command the combined Air Service of the AEF and subsequently promoted to Major General the following month. He remained with the Air Service until June 1919, returning then to the U.S. and to various engineering duties, including Assistant Chief of Engineers in 1920.

Retired in 1927. Died in 1942

Patrick AFB in Florida is named in his honor in 1950.

-Sarah

 

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This is a good add. At the outset of WWI, Pershing was happy with all his branches except the Air Service which he viewed as having good men, but they were running in circles. He appointed Patrick to "straighten things out." One of his subordinates was one of the original Military Aviators, Benjamin Fulois. Fulois was one of two top commanders who was then seen as running in circles...the other was Billy Michell. Patrick held the job until 1927. IIRC, he funded his own flying lessons and got his wings at an advanced age...something like 40, or thereabouts. He was very proud to have been awarded his wings and is always seen wearing them as an older man, but not in earlier pictures.

 

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Paul - thanks for posting this photo. Just from the way the star is sitting it appears to be a seperate item. Do you think if you had those wings it would say from offical die on the reverse ;)

 

Cheers

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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