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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread


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Cliff & Dwight: Thanks for the clarification, it looks like I was confused by the fact that Winder had satisfied the flight requirements for the MA but apparently never officially completed the details of getting the licenses.

 

Blue: I joined Ancestry.com about a decade ago and found it much too slow for my dial up connection then. I'm sure with broadband digging around in their databases is much quicker now. I think the cost was fairly nominal, but I've since filled out much of my family studies, so no longer have the need. With the West Palm Beach lead and the names of Winder's children, you might find a census record useful...I think the 1930 census is available by now, or soon will be.

 

Here is one of the pictures I found of Winder in the LOC collection:

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Seydel is tough . . . .

 

Others that I've found tough to flesh out in later life are Muller, Carberry, and Chapman.

Paul,

 

This information I have on file about Fred Seydel might help you and Blackhawk:

 

Born Iowa City, Iowa on September 20, 1884. Ranked #40 out of 83 classmates he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant, Coast Artillery Corps on June 15, 1910.

 

Detailed from the Coast Artillery Corps to the Aeronautical Division on March 15, 1913.

 

Aero Club of America certificate #289 under FAI rules in June 1913.

 

Along with Joseph E. Carberry, awarded the Mackay Army Trophy on December 29, 1913 near San Diego, California for competition covering in effect the reconnoissance of troops.

 

Military Aviation #24 on December 31, 1913.

 

Expert Aviator Certificate #24.

 

Relieved from the Aviation Section and returned to the Coast Artillery Corps on February 17, 1914 (Special Order 40).

 

From May 31, 1917 to February 18, 1918 he again served in the aviation section of the Signal Corps. He commanded the aviation school at MIT from August 6, 1917 to October 5, 1917.

 

He served abroad, beginning on May 5, 1918 but not in the aviation section. He commanded the Second Battalion, 43rd Artillery from August 30, 1918 until the Armistice.

 

A graduate of the Army Industrial College and the Command and General Staff School.

 

From June 6, 1923 to August 2, 1926 he was detailed for duty in the Office of the Chief of Chemical Warfare in Washington. He then returned to the Coast Artillery Corps. He served as an instructor, Organized Reserves, in San Francisco from 1930 until his retirement on November 30, 1934. He was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel on November 1, 1934.

 

Died at Letterman General Hospital, Presidio of San Francisco on July 19 1938. He had one daughter at the time of his death, Joan Seydel of Oakland, CA.

 

Cliff :thumbsup:

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Paul and Cliff...

 

I need not attempt to express adequate thanks.

 

So, thanks.

 

That is a big (aka HUGE) help.

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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I finally heard from NASM regarding Carberry.

 

Joseph E. Carberry: Born 20 July 1887 in Waukesha, WI; Died 12 November 1961 age 74 in Pasadena, CA

 

Assigned to aviation 15 March 1913 to 20 October 1919; Ret. On service-connected disability 1924

 

On the subject of the first MAs, his obit in Chirp (Fall Issue 1961) says, “Col. Carberry was one of a group of 24 Army men who were selected in 1913 to serve as Military Aviators….”

 

Source: Folder 1, Box 29, Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. Collection (Acc. XXXX-0566), Archives Division, NASM, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

 

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the NASM collection that tells what Carberry’s non-aviation Army assignment was between 1919 and his retirement in 1924, nor is there any information on what he did after he retired. There is also no information on what the service-connected disability was that caused his retirement. Dwight (drmessimer)

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. . . there is the unfortunate truth that many of the officers who applied for detached duty to aviation before 1914 were not the bright stars of the Army, and their commanding officers endorsed their requests simply to get rid of them. That sounds like an awful thing to say when one thinks of men like Dodd, Milling, Taliaferro, and Foulois. But they were the exceptions as were a few others.

 

:think: How did you come up with that conclusion?

 

Charles DeForest Chandler was an exceptional officer. So was Frank P. Lahm, Paul Beck and Harold Geiger. Herbert A. Dargue, Roy C. Kirkland, Henry H. Arnold . . . were all very bright young officers, as too were Eric L. Ellington, Hugh M. Kelly and others before their unfortunate deaths.

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:think: How did you come up with that conclusion?

 

Charles DeForest Chandler was an exceptional officer. So was Frank P. Lahm, Paul Beck and Harold Geiger. Herbert A. Dargue, Roy C. Kirkland, Henry H. Arnold . . . were all very bright young officers, as too were Eric L. Ellington, Hugh M. Kelly and others before their unfortunate deaths.

 

Cliff: Chandler might have been an efficient Signal Corps officer within the limits of his specific Signal Corps duties, but his leadership and skills were very poor. He was certainly not the best choice to head-up the fledging Army aviation program. Under Chandler’s lack of leadership the Aviation Section made no progress toward developing aviation’s combat role. In fact during his time as the Aviation School commanding officer the Aviation Section was little more than a flying club and an Army chapter of the Aero Club of America (ACA). Chandler’s lack of leadership provoked what the Chief Signal Officer (CSO), Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven later described as “an incipient mutiny” among the Wright pilots at Texas City in March 1913. The center point of the Texas City blow-up was a letter that the Wright pilots sent to General Scriven during the first week in March 1913. Among other points, the letter demanded that the CSO either relieve Chandler or relieve them. Even Tom Milling, who had made sitting on a fence an art, said that he “did not like Chandler and his methods.” In 1913 Benjamin Foulois told a Congressional Committee, “I know of no poorer officer to be in charge of it,” referring to Chandler, Army aviation, and the school at College Park. During the Goodier court martial in 1915 Roy Kirtland said that Chandler “had no push” when it came to advancing military aviation. And Hap Arnold, during a round table discussion, said of the Signal Corps officers who commanded aviation in 1912, “When I first joined, I do not think that they had the best men in charge of the flying station.” Arnold was referring to General Allen, Maj. Edgar Russel, and Captain Chandler.

The result of the so-called incipient mutiny at Texas City was that Scriven did relieve Chandler and replaced him with Capt. Arthur Cowan and brought in Lt. Col. Samuel Reber to replace Maj. Edgar Russel as Chief, Aeronautical Division. Both men proved to be worst possible choices and the situation actually became worse, resulting in the 1915 Goodier court martial.

My comment that some of the early Army aviators were not the brightest stars in the Army is not necessarily based on their flying skills but on their annual evaluation reports and subsequent service records. Many of them were quite competent as officers and made important contributions to the advancement of aviation, but that isn’t true in every case. And when you start digging into their individual histories, you find that some had very serious flaws, Chandler among them.

The sources for this short response to your question are:

 

RG159, Records of the Inspector General (Army), Proceedings of a Board of Officers Convened by the Secretary of War to Examine Conditions Existing in the Administration of the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, NARA, Washington, DC; RG153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army), General Court Martial, No. 95565, Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, Trial Transcript; Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, First Session, in Connection with H. R. 5304, “Aeronautics in the Army,” 12-16 August 1913; and Interview No. 767, “Discussion with Generals Foulois, Lahm, and Milling,” Air Force Historical Foundation, Maxwell AFB, AL. Arnold's account of the blow-up in Texas City is found in his memoirs, Global Mission, pp. 41-42.

Dwight

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wow! very interesting post. But can't we get back to talking about fakes?...heh....just kidding.

 

Fascinating stuff, gentlemen.

 

 

Cliff: Chandler might have been an efficient Signal Corps officer within the limits of his specific Signal Corps duties, but his leadership and skills were very poor. He was certainly not the best choice to head-up the fledging Army aviation program. Under Chandler’s lack of leadership the Aviation Section made no progress toward developing aviation’s combat role. In fact during his time as the Aviation School commanding officer the Aviation Section was little more than a flying club and an Army chapter of the Aero Club of America (ACA). Chandler’s lack of leadership provoked what the Chief Signal Officer (CSO), Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven later described as “an incipient mutiny” among the Wright pilots at Texas City in March 1913. The center point of the Texas City blow-up was a letter that the Wright pilots sent to General Scriven during the first week in March 1913. Among other points, the letter demanded that the CSO either relieve Chandler or relieve them. Even Tom Milling, who had made sitting on a fence an art, said that he “did not like Chandler and his methods.” In 1913 Benjamin Foulois told a Congressional Committee, “I know of no poorer officer to be in charge of it,” referring to Chandler, Army aviation, and the school at College Park. During the Goodier court martial in 1915 Roy Kirtland said that Chandler “had no push” when it came to advancing military aviation. And Hap Arnold, during a round table discussion, said of the Signal Corps officers who commanded aviation in 1912, “When I first joined, I do not think that they had the best men in charge of the flying station.” Arnold was referring to General Allen, Maj. Edgar Russel, and Captain Chandler.

The result of the so-called incipient mutiny at Texas City was that Scriven did relieve Chandler and replaced him with Capt. Arthur Cowan and brought in Lt. Col. Samuel Reber to replace Maj. Edgar Russel as Chief, Aeronautical Division. Both men proved to be worst possible choices and the situation actually became worse, resulting in the 1915 Goodier court martial.

My comment that some of the early Army aviators were not the brightest stars in the Army is not necessarily based on their flying skills but on their annual evaluation reports and subsequent service records. Many of them were quite competent as officers and made important contributions to the advancement of aviation, but that isn’t true in every case. And when you start digging into their individual histories, you find that some had very serious flaws, Chandler among them.

The sources for this short response to your question are:

 

RG159, Records of the Inspector General (Army), Proceedings of a Board of Officers Convened by the Secretary of War to Examine Conditions Existing in the Administration of the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, NARA, Washington, DC; RG153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army), General Court Martial, No. 95565, Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, Trial Transcript; Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, First Session, in Connection with H. R. 5304, “Aeronautics in the Army,” 12-16 August 1913; and Interview No. 767, “Discussion with Generals Foulois, Lahm, and Milling,” Air Force Historical Foundation, Maxwell AFB, AL. Arnold's account of the blow-up in Texas City is found in his memoirs, Global Mission, pp. 41-42.

Dwight

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Cliff & Dwight,

 

I had hoped that you two would start comparing notes sometime in the context of this thread. I have encountered no one else with the depth of knowledge on this subject during my several months of digging into this subject than you two guys.

 

This is exactly the kind of information I've been looking for in constructing my modest paper. For goodness sake, please don't ever get impatient with one another, as I consider each of you individuals of the first rank.

 

People and how they relate to one another during the course of their professional lives have always fascinated me. And the subject of early aviation in this regard would seem to offer a remarkable and ultimately enlightening body of knowledge. Egos, ambition, competitiveness, integrity, and so many other personal traits enter into the mix. Although I suspect no one could ever know with any real certainty, I think that with tidbits of fact such as are being developed here, one could reach some relatively reliable assumptions about the characters of these early aviators.

 

Some of the smartest professionals I've encountered had weak interpersonal skills and more than a few of them simply couldn't string a cohesive written sentence together. Yet give them a technical problem to solve and miracles could happen. I have little doubt that some of these same things existed within early aviation.

 

Although I recognize that forming judgments about men on the basis of their appearance in pictures or from their writing skills is risky and could be wrong, I tend use those clues anyway to form my own ideas about these early aviators.

 

To me, Chandler appears to have been a somewhat passive man, Beck--a playboy and probably cocky, Arnold--a politician who managed to keep his skirts clean through years of turmoil in the aviation section and built his skills as an administrator, Fulois--feisty and argumentative, Kirtland--quiet and solid, Milling--as you described...an accomplished fence sitter--maybe that better describes Arnold also, Dargue--a bull, Lahm puzzles me, etc. etc.

 

My own observation in a corporate environment is that lightning, if it ever strikes, strikes very slowly. Individual genius is stifled and incentives for risk taking are few. That pretty well describes the evolution of Army aviation. It takes a very few bold individuals to advance an organization; it's much different in an entrepreneurial organization where things move much more quickly--even if it's over a cliff.

 

From my reading, I've gotten the impression that the pecking order in the Army of the early 1900's from lowest regard to highest was: Infantry, CAC, SC, Calvary, and Engineers. I think that came from reading several accounts of West Point grads and their desires for assignments following graduation. Since the graduates of that day were not assured a job in the regular Army upon graduation, gaining an assignment in their desired department was largely a function of how sharp they were perceived to be by the various Army departments. Would that be a reasonably accurate way to compare these men in a relative manner?

 

Keep it coming gents...I'm enthralled.

 

Paul

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"My own observation in a corporate environment is that lightning, if it ever strikes, strikes very slowly. Individual genius is stifled and incentives for risk taking are few..."

 

Indeed, my own corporate (albeit non-profit) experience amply taught that it is those most able to avoid taking initiative are often the most outwardly successful.

 

It must have been an interesting time during early aviation - so much potential, excitement, danger and need.

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. . . there is the unfortunate truth that many of the officers who applied for detached duty to aviation before 1914 were not the bright stars of the Army, and their commanding officers endorsed their requests simply to get rid of them. That sounds like an awful thing to say when one thinks of men like Dodd, Milling, Taliaferro, and Foulois. But they were the exceptions as were a few others.

Specifically, the earlier comment that many officers who applied for duty to aviation prior to 1914 were not the bright(est) stars of the Army and their commanding officers endorsed their requests simply to get rid of them . . . was a bit unfair. The vast majority of officers who served under *Charles DeF. Chandler, officers such as Frank P. Lahm, Paul W. Beck, Benjamin Foulois, Harold Geiger, Herbert A. Dargue, Roy C. Kirkland, Hollis LeR. Muller, Henry H. Arnold, Eric L. Ellington, Hugh M. Kelly and Robert H. Willis; contribution a great deal to the early development of military aviation.

 

 

My comment that some of the early Army aviators were not the brightest stars in the Army is not necessarily based on their flying skills but on their annual evaluation reports and subsequent service records. Many of them were quite competent as officers and made important contributions to the advancement of aviation, but that isn’t true in every case.

Well, perhaps that is better.

 

The sources for this short response to your question are:

 

RG159, Records of the Inspector General (Army), Proceedings of a Board of Officers Convened by the Secretary of War to Examine Conditions Existing in the Administration of the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, NARA, Washington, DC; RG153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army), General Court Martial, No. 95565, Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, Trial Transcript; Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, First Session, in Connection with H. R. 5304, “Aeronautics in the Army,” 12-16 August 1913; and Interview No. 767, “Discussion with Generals Foulois, Lahm, and Milling,” Air Force Historical Foundation, Maxwell AFB, AL. Arnold's account of the blow-up in Texas City is found in his memoirs, Global Mission, pp. 41-42.

Another prime source for information would be the book "The United States Army Air Arm - April 1861 to April 1917" by Juliette A. Hennessy.

 

*In defense of Colonel Charles DeF. Chandler - Appointed First Officer in Charge, Aeronautical Division, Signal Office, War Department on August 1, 1907. An interesting biography on his military career was written by Lt. General Howard A. Craig, USAF. It was published in the American Aviation Historical Society Journal, Volume 18, Number 3 – Fall 1973. If you would like a copy I will send it to you.

 

Cliff

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I have to concur with Cliff in his assessment.

Speaking from a modern perspective, Army Aviation and since the 1960's Special Forces Officers have been considered outcast by the rank and file of the regular army. Prior to the "Special Ops" wars of the 1980's it was virtually impossible for an Aviator or Special Forces Officer to advance past the rank of Col (06). I recall a conversation between myself and the Director of the Infantry Branch, who was a close friend of mine, during the rif's of the 1970's. I asked him what was the main thing they were looking for when they made their selections. His quote was "If you have a Special Forces prefix or Aviation and have not finished your college your out". I was very upset by this in that I fell right into that area being a SF, Aviator with a High School Diploma. How I made it past the rounds of rif's is still a mystery to me. In short I suspect that it was even more of a handicap to be an aviator during the 1913 to 1918 period within the regular army, and I would also suspect that those aviators were chastised on a daily basis by the Inf, Arty and Cav elememts of the army. Even if they were outstanding officers in their own right I can see where they would be looked down upon and degraded by their superior officers who were not rated aviators and saw aviation only as a passing fad.

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Even if they were outstanding officers in their own right I can see where they would be looked down upon and degraded by their superior officers who were not rated aviators and saw aviation only as a passing fad.

 

This is indeed an interesting and informative thread, which seems to allow us a wide latitude for discussion. Cliff and Paul have raised interesting points, but let me first address a point that has not yet been brought out, which is that there were fifty-four Army officers assigned to aviation duty between 1 August 1907 and 18 July 1914. Of those, thirteen were killed in airplane crashes prior to WWI and 24 were qualified as Military aviators. That leaves seventeen officers who effectively left no durable record, three of whom were dirigible pilots.

 

The focus of this thread is on the twenty-four Military Aviators, all of whom can be described as competent officers. But depending on how you define outstanding, it’s open for discussion as to how many could be described as such. But when one considers all fifty-four officers who were assigned to aviation during the period 1907-1914, it becomes evident that several were not particularly impressive, including some of the MAs. It was in the context of all fifty-four officers who were assigned to aviation that I made the comment that several were not the Army’s brightest stars.

 

The important feature of the period was the so-called Manchu Law, which limited detached duty to four years in six. For those who want the specific AR it was Article VI, Paragraph 40, Regulations for the Army of the United States Army, 1910 with changes 5, 8, & 10, which were in effect until the passage of the 1916 National Defense Act. During that time, Army appropriations were very tight and allowing an officer to go on detached duty meant that his unit could not fill the vacancy during his absence. Understandably commanding officers were often reluctant to grant a detached duty request unless the officer was some sort of problem to the commanding officer. Beck’s practice of going outside the chain of command and his use of political influence, Bowman’s tendency to be a martinet, and Willis’s apparent inability, or unwillingness, to wear the proper uniform even when ordered to were the sort of things that gave commanding officers problems. Saying that some of the men were detached to aviation to get rid of them might seem to be an unfair thing to say, but the fact is it did happen.

 

I have found many interesting characters and strong personalities, to say nothing of huge egos, among the early pilots, but I have yet to identify any one of them whom I would describe as a mover and a shaker prior to 1917. Possible exceptions might be Dodd, Kirkland, and Taliaferro who organized and led the conspiracy against Cowan in 1915. That’s why I agree with Paul’s assessments of Arnold, Beck, Chandler, Dargue, Foulois, Kirtland, and Milling. Actually, Paul, Lahm and Chandler are two peas in a pod, which is probably why they were such great friends. Other Forum members who are taking part in this discussion probably have different views of the pilots, which is understandable and, from those different perspectives, equally valid.

 

My interest in this period has to do with the reasons that Army aviation made virtually no progress toward becoming a viable combat organization prior to WWI. The pilots’ personalities and roles are critical to the study. To be honest, in my opinion none of them individually made an outstanding contribution to the development of military aviation prior to 1917. That wasn’t for lack of trying, they certainly tried. Their enduring contribution was collective in that they were there and without them there would have been no Aviation Section at all.

 

The real problem was Army aviation’s organizational structure and the lack of leadership. The pilots were badly led, lacked direction, and housed in the wrong place—the Signal Corps. Army aviation wasn’t considered a passing fad, it simply had a very low priority during the modernization program that started under Secretary of War Elihu Root in 1899, which represented a quantum shift from the so-called hitching post army to a modern army that was focused on developing modern artillery, small arms, heavy weapons, and modern munitions.

 

During the transition, aviation development was stifled, in part, by the Signal Corps’ assertion that reconnaissance was the airplane’s primary battlefield role. With that as the sole mission there was no room for bombardment, ground support, or air supremacy. The most vocal advocate among the pilots for a multiple mission role was Paul Beck. But Beck’s motives were more selfish than far-sighted, and Benjamin Foulois used his political connections to campaign against Beck’s one-man push for an independent air arm. Milling and Arnold also testified against Beck, but for different reasons.

 

I don’t know anything about the corporate environment but I do have experience with the academic environment, which apparently shares all the features of human interaction foibles, and failings that Paul and Bluehawk mention. Both provide good comparative models for assessing the Army aviation experience during the early period.

 

Cliff: I would greatly appreciate having a copy of Howard Craig’s article on Chandler. My mailing address is 1892 Elsie Ave., Mountain View, CA 94043. Thanks for the offer.

 

If any of you would like to contact me directly on anything I have said or if you just want to chat, please do. My email address is drmessimer@aol.com

Dwight

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... In short I suspect that it was even more of a handicap to be an aviator during the 1913 to 1918 period within the regular army, and I would also suspect that those aviators were chastised on a daily basis by the Inf, Arty and Cav elememts of the army. Even if they were outstanding officers in their own right I can see where they would be looked down upon and degraded by their superior officers who were not rated aviators and saw aviation only as a passing fad.

That rings true.

 

In the USAF of today, a similar bias exists as between Fighter and "other" kinds of pilots, too.

 

Very real, and rather senseless even so.

 

Some of this must always have been and be a matter of esprit, but it does at times go overboard to the detriment of a mission.

 

To this day, and in some sense since the USAS era, the Air Force vacillates between wanting and not wanting to identify itself with the old guard Army roots; most notably in how we incessantly diddle and fiddle with insignia and ranks and uniforms.

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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Dwight, if possible at some point, would you expand on the following a bit more (as to what you believe was the tension between these aviator's exclusive viewpoints?

 

"But Beck’s motives were more selfish than far-sighted, and Benjamin Foulois used his political connections to campaign against Beck’s one-man push for an independent air arm. Milling and Arnold also testified against Beck, but for different reasons..."

 

And, for you or anyone else involved here, who among those first 25 (or 57 for that matter?) who died or is not well credited might HAVE been the best or a better pioneering leader (other than Arnold or Rickenbacker)?

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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. . . for you or anyone else involved here, who among those first 25 (or 57 for that matter?) who died or is not well credited might HAVE been the best or a better pioneering leader (other than Arnold or Rickenbacker)?

:think:

 

There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been Major Harold Geiger whose life and career was cut short by his tragic death in 1927.

 

Nothing has ever been officially published about him; however, you can read an unedited bio on his life here:

 

http://earlyaviators.com/egeiger1.htm

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it was virtually impossible for an Aviator or Special Forces Officer to advance past the rank of Col (06).

 

I recall that when my student deferment played out in the mid-1960’s, the only open military flying programs not requiring a college degree were the Coast Guard and the Army. Even my one-half engineering degree plus a commercial pilot license with instrument rating was trumped by a degree in anything else…library science or home economics would do.

 

The Coast Guard had an open cadet program for helicopters and as you know in those days the Army had a similar big need for a really dangerous job flying helicopters. As I look back on that time now, it seems obvious that the Army simply responded to an urgent short term demand which at the end of the Vietnam war was no longer needed in such numbers, hence the rif. The progress limitations observed in Army promotions also exists in the corporate world. At a certain management level, a certain education pedigree is expected and often this has nothing to do with an individual’s demonstrated capabilities. Has to do with entry to and acceptance by polite society, I think.

 

The outbreak of WWII presented a similar situation where most of the aircrew officers were products of cadet programs—regular Army recruitment initiatives simply couldn’t supply the numbers needed from the ranks of college graduates as they had during the twenties and thirties. A lot of those cadets, probably most of them, never flew again after the war. Think about climbing aboard a heavy, 4-engine craft and trusting your life to a 22-year old pilot having something on the order of 200-hours in his log.

 

My own experience in the surface Navy and study of the AAF staffing practices on their WWII bases in England suggests that Academy grads, regardless of the branch, were and are the services’ golden boys. They tended to be looked after and brought along by “the system.” It’s understandable, as those were the carefully selected and groomed youngsters produced by the branches themselves and I believe they had subtle advantages over all others in their services.

 

Of the first 24 Military Aviators, at least half of them were Academy graduates. That suggests to me that aviation wasn’t necessarily viewed as a backwater branch, at least by the young officers. Since their aviation section commanders had essentially no powered aviation experience (no one did, really), then who had the job to set goals and judge performance? In fact, it seems that for the first few years that task was ceded to the French FAI. And by the way, were they significantly better qualified to set the goals, or was it that they had taken the time to write something down where no one else had?

 

The active early aviators were little more than kids in their mid-twenties who were having the time of their lives—doing something that was new and exciting while working for largely clueless bosses—clueless with regard to powered flight, that is. Only Chandler, Fulois, Lahm, Beck, and Kirtland had a little age and experience on them as they were about 6-10 years older than rest of the MA’s. Interesting that of these 5, only Lahm was an Academy graduate. However, of the 6 MA’s that ultimately achieved the rank of General, only 1 was not an Academy graduate.

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Dwight, if possible at some point, would you expand on the following a bit more (as to what you believe was the tension between these aviator's exclusive viewpoints?

 

"But Beck’s motives were more selfish than far-sighted, and Benjamin Foulois used his political connections to campaign against Beck’s one-man push for an independent air arm. Milling and Arnold also testified against Beck, but for different reasons..."

 

And, for you or anyone else involved here, who among those first 25 (or 57 for that matter?) who died or is not well credited might HAVE been the best or a better pioneering leader (other than Arnold or Rickenbacker)?

 

Bluehawk: Paul Beck was either a far-sighted prophet or a manipulative politician out for personal gain. The truth is he might have been both. His role as a far-sighted prophet took the form of an article that he published in the Infantry Journal in 1912. Titled, “Military Aviation: Its Needs,” Beck laid out a well organized, detailed, blue print for a multiple-mission, independent, air force. By the time his article appeared in the Infantry Journal, Beck was back in the Infantry, a victim of the Manchu Law, but he was lobbying heavily among his Congressional friends to be reassigned.

 

In February 1913, Beck, working with Congressman James Hay, introduced HR52728, a bill intended to establish a semi-autonomous Air Corps with Beck at its head. If successful, he would be jumped from captain to brigadier general by an act of Congress. On 14 February 1913 Foulois received a telegram from Colonel Scriven requesting his views on HR28728, and two days later, on 16 February, Foulois received a copy of the bill from Congressman John Tilson. The next day, 17 February, he sent the CSO a four-page letter opposing HR28728.

 

Here is where it gets personal. Paul Beck and Benjamin Foulois had a long-standing feud that dated back to April 1911 at Fort Sam Houston. At the time that Beck, Kelly, and Walker arrived there from San Diego, Foulois had been the Army’s lone eagle since November 1909 and he resented the half-trained Curtiss pilots trespassing on his turf. To make matters worse, Beck had seniority and was given command of the Provisional Aero Company at Fort Sam Houston. The fact that the squadron consisted of only four pilots and two airplanes made no difference. The point was that Foulois was subordinate to Beck.

 

Following Kelly’s death on 10 May 1911, Foulois told Maj. George O. Squire, who was then the signal officer at Fort Sam Houston, that Beck’s failure to perform his duty as the senior Curtiss officer had resulted in Kelly’s death. Foulois told Squire he could not serve under Beck or sit as an impartial judge on a board of officers convened to investigate the crash. The board, correctly, found no fault on Beck’s part and Foulois was not called as a witness. To make matters worse, Foulois was relieved of aviation under the Manchu Law and assigned to the Militia Bureau. Beck remained in aviation.

 

HR 28728 never got off the ground, but Hay entered an altered version, HR5304 In May 1913. Hearings on HR5304 were held from 12 to 16 August 1913. During the hearings Beck was the only witness for the bill and he was up against the Signal Corps big guns, including Mitchell who spoke for the General Staff and Foulois who spoke as the Army’s most experienced aviator. Hap Arnold and Tom Milling both testified for the Signal Corps against the bill. The official reason they gave for supporting the Signal Corps against Beck was found in Foulois’ arguments that none of the Army’s pilots, on or off aviation duty, was qualified to hold a command position at Corps level. They also did not like Beck’s operating style and neither man wanted him back in aviation. Unlike Foulois, their dislike was based on Beck’s self-interest rather than a real or imagined wrong. And they both thought Beck was at best a mediocre pilot, even though he was an MA, which might have stemmed from the fact that Arnold and Milling were Wright pilots and Beck was a Curtiss pilot. Beck’s attempt to hijack Army aviation failed and he did not return to aviation until after WWI when he took command of Post Field at Fort Sill, OK. He was murdered in Oklahoma City on the night of 4 April 1922.

 

The personal rivalries and under-handed dealings, some of them outright criminal, as well as a dangerous rivalry between Wright and Curtiss pilots continued until 1914 and culminated in the Goodier court martial in October-November 1915, which resulted in a complete overhaul of the Aviation Section on the eve of WWI.

 

This brief account doesn’t do justice to the drama and intrigue of the event, but it does provide an idea of what was going on beneath the surface. It’s also something that Chandler and Lahm don’t mention in their book, How Our Army Grew wings, nor does Juliet Hennessy address those events in her book, The United States Army Air Arm, April 1907-April 1917. Herbert A. Johnson, Wingless Eagle: US Army Aviation Through WWI does deal with the Goodier court martial and recognizes its historical significance as well as some of the other issues. Foulois wrote about his involvement in defeating HR5304 in his memoirs, From the Wright Brothers to the Astronauts, and said much more about it in three articles he wrote for The Air Power Historian in April and July 1955 and April 1956.

 

In answer to your second question, I would have to think about that, but any name I selected would be purely speculation. One thing is certain. The events of 1913-1915, which were the fuse and powder keg period, catapulted Billy Mitchell into the catbird seat from which he took a leading role in advancing military aviation. On that basis I would say that none of the pre 1915 aviators fit the bill, but they created the circumstances that brought a real leader forward.

Dwight

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At 35, Beck was one of the 2-3 eldest MA’s when he was detailed to the aviation section in 1911. He had about 1-1/2 years seniority on Fulois who was almost certainly his most direct rival at the time. However, Beck very likely had some advantage from his father being a recently retired Brigadier General who I believe lived in Washington. IIRC his father had helped him obtain his direct appointment as a 2Lt. in 1899, without having attended the Point. I don’t know the particulars of why he did not attend the Point.

 

I’m surmising that with Beck’s time in service, a well connected father, and his maturity, that he saw an opportunity to press an aggressive personal agenda bucking the system. That his father died in 1911 may have derailed most of his support…probably can’t know that for sure, but that his opposition strengthened after 1911 suggests such a scenario.

 

I learned as a youngster that if you want to be a leader the best action to take is let others know you want to lead, then aggressively pursue the job. I also learned that others will often acquiesce in the face of aggressiveness, and that the leader’s job is not always a good one, once you have it!

 

At 5’6” and a mustang, Fulois had a lot to overcome. He seems to have been very successful at holding his own in a contest. I like him, but I can see how he might have been both irritating to and underestimated by someone like Beck. When Milling and Arnold both aligned themselves against Beck, that had to have been about the end of it for him.

 

There are a lot of pictures of Fulois that show him to be a jovial sort and in the company of well known people. I particularly like this just post WWI picture of him putting Private Ruth to work.

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Dwight, thank you so much, I'm digesting your thoughts.

 

Apropos of the following, however, why would Mitchell have been against an independent aero service - or did I read wrongly?:

 

"During the hearings Beck was the only witness for the bill and he was up against the Signal Corps big guns, including Mitchell who spoke for the General Staff and Foulois who spoke as the Army’s most experienced aviator."

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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I agree with Cliff that Harold Geiger is a colorful personality and one of the more interesting characters at North Island. He, Ned Goodier, and Walter Taliaferro were very similar sorts. Whether or not Geiger would have gone on to greater things is a matter of conjecture, but he might have. Geiger was strong willed, at times stubborn, and occasionally insubordinate. He was a good leader, worked well with his peers and subordinates, but he didn’t always endear himself to his superiors. Two examples illustrate those traits.

 

Geiger’s first run-in with authority at North Island occurred in January 1913 before Reber replaced Russel as Chief Aviation Division. In this instance Geiger showed leadership and backbone when he stood up to the ACA and took on the Signal Corps top brass. The issue was the Aero Club of America’s (ACA) intrusion into determining a pilot’s basic qualification.

 

Briefly, since 1911, the FAI test was the Army’s only basic qualifying pilot’s test. And it was administered according to a rigid, bureaucratic, ACA requirement that included submitting a written request, accompanied by a photograph and a certificate fee. If all the procedures were not followed to the letter, the ACA voided the tests, even if they had been accomplished successfully. The entire process, application approval, test monitoring, and issuing the qualification certificate was solely an ACA function.

 

Geiger, like most of the Army pilots, was an ACA member and for that reason the ACA appointed him test umpire for the FAI Aviator’s Certificate tests at North Island. Geiger’s first student test was Lewis E. “Ned” Goodier who passed his FAI tests on 8 January. Lewis Brereton, Samuel McLeary, and Joseph Park also took their FAI Aviator’s certificate tests in January 1913, and that is where the trouble started.

 

In short, in one form or another, the three men failed to comply exactly with the ACA application rules. In Brereton’s case he took the test and then sent in his application. In McLeary’s case, the ACA secretary, Mortimer Delano, ruled incorrectly that Geiger had set the turning posts too closely together, when in fact they were set well within the ACA’s official limits. In Park’s case Mortimer ruled that Geiger had failed to notify the ACA that he would officiate at the tests. It was an idiotic ruling because Geiger was the ACA’s appointed on-site judge.

 

In his reply Geiger told Delano, “Inasmuch as our chief objective is to train officers to become Military Aviators and not licensed pilots, I do not consider that we should attach primary importance to the latter.”

 

Delano complained to Lt. Col. Samuel Reber who at the time was the Chief Signal Officer of the Army’s Eastern Division and a governor of the ACA as well as chairman of the ACA Contest Committee. Reber contacted Maj. Edgar Russel, Chief of the Aeronautical Division, urging him to direct Geiger to comply with the club’s regulations. Russel in turn sent the letter up the line to then acting CSO, Col. George P. Scriven who ordered Chandler to find out if the ACA rules had any official standing in the Army. Chandler told him they did not, and a search of the Aeronautical Division’s files confirmed Chandler’s opinion.

 

On 5 March 1913 Colonel Scriven became Brigadier General Scriven, CSO. Despite the absence of any official requirement, and against advice from his school commander, General Scriven directed Major Russel to send an order to Geiger, directing him “to have every officer pass the qualifications for the FAI license without delay, or as soon as his training warrants his making the test flights, and that the data required by the Aero Club of America, be sent to this office.”

 

One week later, Lieutenant Geiger responded and came very close to insubordination. On 17 March he sent a letter to the CSO reporting that the [corrected] “data for test of Lieutenants McLeary and Brereton has been sent to the Aero Club.” Referring to 1st Lt. Joseph D. Park, Geiger told the CSO, “I can see no reason why he should be compelled to repeat this test.”

 

On 24 March, acting on the CSO’s order, Major Russel shot back a one sentenced reply attached to the CSO’s 10 March directive. “As this office considers it necessary to work in conjunction with the Aero Club of America, paragraph 2 of this letter will be complied with in the case of all officers.” Lieutenant Park retook and passed the FAI test on 23 March 1913, and the policy requiring all Army pilots to qualify for and obtain the FAI Aviator’s Certificate under ACA auspices before continuing their training became official.

 

The sources for that account are found in RG111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1912-1916, NARA, College Park, MD, and consist of:

Geiger to Secretary, Aero Club of America, letter, 4 February 1913, Reference: FAI Certificate Tests

Reber to Russel, Letter, 12 February 1913, Reference: FAI Certificate Tests

Scriven to Chandler, memorandum, 18 February 1913, “Policy of Training Officers”

Chandler to Scriven, 1st Endorsement, 20 February 1913. Reference: “Policy of Training Officers”

Chandler to Scriven, 1st Endorsement, 20 February 1913. Reference: “Policy of Training Officers”

Scriven to Geiger, memorandum, “FAI Pilots’ License Status,” 10 March 1913

Geiger to Scriven, 1st Endorsement, 17 March 1913, Reference: “FAI Pilots’ License Status

Russel to Geiger, 2nd Endorsement, 24 March 1913, Reference: “FAI Pilots’ License Status”

Geiger to CSO, 3rd Endorsement, 1 April 1913, Reference “FAI Pilots’ License Status.”

 

Following the arrival of the Wright pilots from Texas City, Geiger was sent to Hawaii to establish a flight school there. By the time he returned to North Island from Hawaii, Reber had replaced Russel as Chief, Aeronautical Division, and he already didn’t like Geiger, who he felt was responsible for the failure of the Hawaiian school. Reber, a non-pilot, was unable to understand the problems that Geiger had in Hawaii. Reber believed that Geiger had spent his time lolling on the beach, which was completely untrue. Though the reasons for disliking Geiger were unfounded, Reber’s unshakeable opinion was that Geiger was a slacker. Unfortunately, Geiger reinforced Reber’s negative opinion by his behavior when he returned to North Island

 

After Geiger arrived at North Island he refused to fly. The reasons he gave were that he was a Curtiss pilot and would only fly a Curtiss. At the time there was a Burgess tractor that had been converted to the Curtiss control system, but Geiger turned it down because it wasn’t a curtiss despite the control system. He was offered other airplanes, some of which were Curtiss, but he still refused to fly.

 

On 28 November 1914 Cowan wrote Reber a long letter on what was going on in San Diego and the preparations being made for the 1914 MacKay Trophy competition. He told his boss, “I am not sure yet as to whether Geiger will want to fly. I rather image he will not, but there is a machine available and as he is a Military Aviator I see no reason why he should not enter.”

 

A new Martin trainer equipped with Curtiss controls went into service on 7 December, but Geiger refused to fly it. On 8 December Cowan again wrote to Reber saying, “I sent for Geiger and told him that it was now up to him to declare himself about flying; that he must either get out and fly or state that he didn’t want to. He assured me that he was anxious to fly, but that he had been waiting for a chance to fly a Curtiss machine. I don’t quite understand this man, but I am determined to see that he does a reasonable amount of flying from now on.”

 

On 15 December Reber told Cowan, “It is up to Geiger to make good or quit. The minute you make the recommendation for his relief, I will start the machinery in motion to bring it about. I will have this matter settled in a few days.” In the meantime, Cowan tried to arrange a compromise under which Geiger would be taken off flying status and given an administrative job at the school. The plan called for Geiger to relieve Kirtland of most of his duties, and make Kirtland the school’s executive officer. But Reber rejected the plan with the explanation, “If he cannot fly he is of no use to us.” Geiger’s relief became effective on 16 January 1915.

 

I don’t know what Geiger’s real reason for refusing to fly was, to be fair he wasn’t the only officer who refused to fly. Kirtland never flew again after Loren Call was killed on 8 July 1913, and Benjamin Foulois didn’t fly for several months during 1915. In any event, Geiger represents just one of the several personality issues that contributed to the discord and unrest that was rampant from March 1913 to October 1915.

 

The source for this account is found in:

Transcript of the Court Martial of Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, 18 October-15 November 1915, RG153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, pp. 213 & 218; Exhibits 7,8,9,and 10. The four exhibits are the correspondence between Cowan and Reber regarding Geiger’s refusal to fly. The court martial transcript is the best and most detailed source of information on the discord and personnel problems in the Aviation Section from March 1913 to October 1915.

Dwight

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Dwight, thank you so much, I'm digesting your thoughts.

 

Apropos of the following, however, why would Mitchell have been against an independent aero service - or did I read wrongly?:

 

"During the hearings Beck was the only witness for the bill and he was up against the Signal Corps big guns, including Mitchell who spoke for the General Staff and Foulois who spoke as the Army’s most experienced aviator."

 

Bluehawk: Mitchell opposed HR 5304 because he was a loyal Signal Corps Officer and opposition to the bill was the official Signal Corps position. Beyond that fundamental fact, the bill was fataly flawed and the idea that Beck, a captain, and a handful of lieutenants could successfully lead an independent Corps was absurd. Mitchell and the other opponents really had no other position to take. But disliking Beck made taking the position much easier.

 

It's significant that none of Beck's friends were called to testify. Whether that was deliberately done or was simply a matter that they laid low, I don't know. I suspect the latter because for anyone other than someone in Beck's position, taking on the Signal Corps was an express ticket out of aviation.

 

Some confusion might arise from Mitchell's status as a representative of the General Staff. That was a detached duty assignment. Mitchell was a Signal Corps officer which meant that in 1916, following the Garlington Board findings, he had a clear shot at Reber's old position.

Dwight

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I don’t know the particulars of why he did not attend the Point.

 

Paul: Beck was an alternate candidate from April 1896 to March 1897, but the primary candidate didn't drop out so Beck was out of luck. In addition, he fathered an illegitimate son who was born in February 1897, which pretty well eliminated any hope for him getting a second shot at the point. For the record, he married the girl in 1989.

 

You're right that his dad was of assistance in getting him a direct commission, but Beck wasn't a shoe-in.

 

The details of Beck's life and service are found in Paul W. Beck, Military Records, 1896-1922, RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General, NARA, College Park, MD

 

Dwight

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It's significant that none of Beck's friends were called to testify. Whether that was deliberately done or was simply a matter that they laid low, I don't know. I suspect the latter because for anyone other than someone in Beck's position, taking on the Signal Corps was an express ticket out of aviation...

 

Dwight

I get it now. Thank you.

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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For the benefit of those that might be interested, here is a write-up on Colonel Charles DeF. Chandler

as published in the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society, Volume 18, Number 3, Fall 1973. edition:

:unsure:

 

Please note: :think: The following four (4) pages had to be reduced 69% of their original size.

In order to view a larger, easier to read image of each page just click the black bar above it

. . . and then click again: :thumbsup:

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