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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread

Paul S

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You're amazing. Old pictures like these are such interesting glimpses into a moment past. No telling what Arnold and Milling were doing together in Sacramento, but there is likely a story of some kind there. As you know from your own experience, gathering together for a group picture for one reason or another is usually an ancillary activity to some other function that is going on and as such of minor interest at the time.


Croix & Dave,


Thanks for the bookfinder references...none better in my estimation. Found a rare 1958 reprint of an 1864 original journal that recorded my great grandfather's movements with his Arkansas Regiment during the WBTS in a bookfinder listing. Had been looking for that little book for 2-years and found it in a small bookshop south of London...go figure.


Another thing I haven't found in picture form is something showing Billy Mitchell with Arnold, Spaatz, and Eaker together. As you know, Mitchell was widely regarded by most of the knowledgeable aviators of WWII as the mentor of those leading the AAF during the war--I think Lew Lyle referred to them as his disciples.


Thanks for your interest and participation fellows...great thread, great contributions.


Paul S twothumbup.gif

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Capt Charles de Forest Chandler seated in the passenger seat of a Wright Model B Flyer holding a machine gun with Leiut Roy C. Kirtland at the controls.


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There are five original Military Aviators in this photo taken in 1911:


Henry H. Arnold, Roy C. Kirland, Thomas DeW. Milling, Samuel H. McLeary, Harold Geiger


Others in the photo are:


Frederick B. Hennessy, Lewis C. Rockwell, Frank M. Kennedy


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Colonel Charles DeForest Chandler


Flying Ratings:

Aero Club of America Spherical balloon pilot certificate No. 8, F.A.I. (1907)

Aero Club of America Aviator's Certificate No. 59, F.A.I. (1911)

Military Aviator No. 4 (1912)

Aero Club of America Expert Aviator No. 5 (1912)


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Here are the pictures of Mr. Willis and Mr. Taliaferro lightened and cropped a bit.
And here is the elusive Mr. Morrow.



Wow! Nice job on those pictures. twothumbup.gif

Can the one of T.D. Milling in post #43 be improved too?


Sure hope so. :rolleyes:



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Have owned the attached picture for a long time. Back is dated 1936, Presidio of San Franciso. Any ideas who the officer is?



The officer is Colonel Roy Carrington Kirkland.


Born at Fort Benton, Montana, on May 14, 1874, Roy C. Kirtland enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1898, eventually earning a commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry on August 29, 1901. In March 1911, Roy Kirtland was transferred from the Infantry Division to the Air Service and placed in charge of the U.S. Aviation School at College Park, Maryland.


While learning to fly one of the early Wright airplanes, he was asked to recommend other young officers for flight training. He recommended Lieutenant Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, who later became Chief of the Army Air Corps.


Colonel Kirtland was one of the first Army pilots, receiving in 1911 Certificate No. 46 from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. He also holds Expert Aviatior License No. 11 from the Aero Club of America. From April to June, 1911, he was in charge of the U.S. Aviation School at College Park, Md.


Roy Kirtland went on to command the First Aero Squadron in 1913 and served in various Signal Corps aviation school capacities until his return to the Infantry Division in 1915. After rejoining the Signal Corps Aviation Section in 1917, he was assigned the task of organizing motor mechanic regiments, and then assumed command of the Third Regiment in France. While overseas, he served as inspector of aviation in England and Air Service rest camps.


After World War I, Colonel Kirtland became a flight instructor, commanded aviation supply depots, and later graduated from the U.S. Army War College. During the late 1920s, he served with the General Staff until his appointment in 1930, as Commandant of Langley Field, Virginia, and as acting Commandant of the Air Corps Tactical School. Colonel Roy C. Kirtland retired from the military in 1938 after 40 years of dedicated service.

However, three years later at the age of 65, he returned to active duty at the West Coast Army Air Forces Training Center, Moffett Field, California. On May 2, 1941, he died there from a massive heart attack. At the time of his death he was the third oldest military pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps.


On February 25, 1942, at the special request of General 'Hap' Arnold, Albuquerque Army Air Base in New Mexico was renamed Kirtland Army Air Field in honor of his lifelong friend, Roy C. Kirtland.


On January 13, 1948, Kirtland Army Air Field became Kirtland Air Force Base. The base occupies over 52,000 acres and is the sixth largest in the Air Force.

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Hi 10-X,


Thank you for posting this wonderful picture and thanks to Cliff for identifying Col. Kirtland. Prior to seeing this portrait the best I've been able to find of Kirtland is pretty poor. A marvelous portrait. I took the liberty of adjusting the exposure a bit to lighten it...one in B/W and one in sepia as the original. Do you recall where and how you came into possession of this picture?


Paul S



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Here is a lightened version of the Brereton portrait above--looks like it has been worked on before...see the vertical line through the center.


Paul S


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