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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread


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In addition to the American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) write-up about Colonel Charles DeF. Chandler posted above, here is a short bio on Colonel Samuel Reber which also appeared in thier Journal; Volume 20, Number 1, Spring 1975.

 

Please note: :think:

The size of the following four (4) pages had to be reduced to fit the screen.

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

black bar above it . . . and then click again:

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  • 2 months later...

I spliced together the picture of Lt. Fulois flying over the parade. It shows one of my favorite depictions of new vs. old Army. Note the cavalry below, the airplane above at a time when the Army knew how to use one tool, but hadn't yet appreciated the possibilities of the other.

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  • 3 months later...

1913 style Military Aviator badges of Thomas DeWitt Milling:

 

Here are two completely different 1913 style MA badges given by Mrs. Milling to Michael Collins while he was the Director of the National Air & Space Museum back in the late 1970s. Some of you may notice that neither is an original Military Aviator badge manufactured by the Ordnance Department at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1913. I don't know if either is gold or gold plated but each one appears to have some silver inlay on the Signal Corps flags which will account for the high degree of tarnish seen on the badges.

 

Oh, the badge at the top is on display in the WW2 section at the NASM but the one on the bottom is in storage.

 

Enjoy! :D

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Great updates, 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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Wow Cliff, what a treat! You are the keeper and guardian of two rare and historic badges! Thank you for sharing them with us.

 

This Military Aviator badge, made by Blackinton, was part of J. Duncan Campbell's collection and is illustrated in his ground-breaking book. This badge is also illustrated in Terry R. Morris' book. I understand the badge was originally part of a 1930's V. H. Blackinton salesmen sample board. This M. A. example does not have the fine hand-chased detail which both of your badges display...but, I believe it's still a very appealing variation. It has silver plating applied to the signal flags in order to give more contrast against the gilt. Both the upper and lower portions of the badge are hallmarked "STERLING BY BLACKINGTON". Knowing that you and Duncan were good friends, I'm near certain you have inspected this piece first-hand years ago.

Russ

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Cliff & Russ,

Thank you for posting pictures of those wonderful wings. What would you speculate the reason would be for Blackington carrying around their version of the MA wing on their sample board so many years after they had been made obsolete by Army uniform regulations?

 

Could it have been that there was a demand for copies of the MA badge as mementos by a significant market in 1930? The Air Corps, which is where I would think most of the demand would have resided, was even then a small organization. Perhaps it's much like today...there is just a demand for examples of older things whether a legitimate piece or not?

 

PS

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Wow Cliff, what a treat! You are the keeper and guardian of two rare and historic badges! Thank you for sharing them with us.

:bye1:

 

Hi ya Russ,

 

I don't own those two MA variants seen in post #183. They are in the National Air & Space Museum collection.

 

About the MA badge by Blackinton from the Duncan Campbell collection. Yes it really did come from a sample board at the Blackinton factory and it was made sometime around 1930. That was the year when Blackinton first started backmarking their badges. Duncan got the badge before WW2 and luckily it has found another good home were it will always be appreciated. It's a real prize Russ and great to know you now have it.

 

Cliff :twothumbup:

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Cliff & Russ,

Thank you for posting pictures of those wonderful wings. What would you speculate the reason would be for Blackington carrying around their version of the MA wing on their sample board so many years after they had been made obsolete by Army uniform regulations?

 

Could it have been that there was a demand for copies of the MA badge as mementos by a significant market in 1930? The Air Corps, which is where I would think most of the demand would have resided, was even then a small organization. Perhaps it's much like today...there is just a demand for examples of older things whether a legitimate piece or not?

 

PS

 

Hi Paul,

 

Blackinton made a die for a 1913 type MA badge in 1918 but since there were less than 24 pilots still living who were qualified to wear it the firm had little demand for them. Still, if an original MA ever had a need for another example between the two world wars, they could order one from Blackinton since they kept the die.

 

Cliff

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  • 1 month later...

Paul: RE: Hugh Marsh Kelly, 1st Lt. 26th Infantry

I offer this documented information to dispel the myth that Hugh M. Kelly was awarded the Military Aviator rating.

As a citizen, Kelly received a direct commission as a 2nd Lt. in the 20th Infantry under Army Regulations, Article V, Paragraph 27 on 28 October 1902. At the time he applied for the commission he had graduated from the Berkeley School in Washington, DC. He had powerful backers for his direct commission, the most prominent being Associate Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan and Senator William J. Deboo. During his ten-year military career he regularly received excellent ratings on his annual efficiency reports. On 9 July 1909, he was promoted to 1st Lt in the 26th Infantry while stationed in Manila, PI. In 1910, at his own request, he was appointed Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the State University of Kentucky. He served in that capacity until October when he applied for assignment to Aviation. His detached service to the Signal Corps occurred on 26 March 1913 while he was with the 26th Infantry, 2nd Division at Texas City, TX.

Kelly went with the Wright pilots from Texas City to San Diego in June 1913. Though Chandler and Lahm, in How Our Army Grew Wings, say that he received his basic ACA pilot’s certificate in July 1913, and his MA rating on 24 November 1913, there is nothing in his 90-page AG file showing that he ever qualified for his FAI certificate or that he ever received an MA rating prior to, or after, his death on 24 November 1913. His military history file shows only that he was a 1st Lt, “unassigned,” at the time of his fatal crash. The ACA records as published in the 1915 ACA Annual Report, do not list Kelly as having received an FAI Aviator’s Certificate, which by that time had become an official Signal Corps requirement. Had Kelly actually received the ACA basic pilot’s certificate or have been rated an MA, even posthumously, the paperwork pertaining to those events would have been in his AG file, and his FAI basic certificate number and date would have been included in the 1915 ACA Annual Report. At the time he was killed, Kelly was a student pilot who had not yet passed the basic qualification tests and never took the MA tests, for which he was not qualified. And no posthumous MA rating was made for him.

That information is found in RG94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1890-1917, AGO Doc. #445, 461, NARA, College Park, MD. The absence of any record that Kelly obtained the FAI basic Pilot’s Certificate is found in Aero Club of America, Annual Report, 1915, “List of FAI Basic Certificate Holders, 1909-1915.”

I just received 995 pages of RG94 material on some of the hard to find MAs, which I will post here as I work my way through the documents. However, I can offer now that there were only twenty-three MAs, whose names appear on the list below. Dwight (drmessimer)

1. Arnold, Henry H.

2. Beck, Paul W.

3. Brereton, Lewis H.

4. Carberry, Joseph E.

5. Chandler, Charles DeF.

6. Chapman, Carleton G.

7. Dargue, Herbert A.

8. Dodd, Townsend F.

9. Ellington, Eric L.

10. Foulois, Benjamin, D.

11. Geiger, Harold

12. Goodier, Lewis E., Jr.

13. Kirtland, Roy C.

14. Lahm, Frank P.

15. McLeary, Samuel H.

16. Milling, Thomas DeW.

17. Morrow, Joseph C., Jr.

18. Müller, Hollis L.

19. Park, Joseph D.

20. Post, Henry B.

21. Seydel, Fred C.

22. Taliaferro, Walter R.

23. Willis, Robert H., Jr.

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RE: Hugh Marsh Kelly, 1st Lt. 26th Infantry

 

Dwight,

 

You've convinced me. Many, many thanks for this wonderful piece of research and I for one will be looking forward to what else you have learned about the 23 who did qualify for the Military Aviator rating.

 

Cliff

 

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Dwight,

Thank you for sharing this research and interesting revelation. Kelly's father was a Louisville newspaper man and an Army colonel in the Union army. I haven't found a picture of him in my searches, but did find this picture of some of his relatives, although their relationships are not clear to me. They are clearly well-heeled and I would think the picture dates to the twenties or thirties.

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An interesting side note. A friend of mine and although I always wanted to ask him if he was related, I never did!

 

PS. There is still at least one more Vietman vet flying in the New York National Guard. The newspaper got it wrong.

 

http://mcevans82.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/796/

 

 

 

Last Vietnam War pilot retires from NY Guard

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

 

The New York National Guard lost its last remaining Vietnam War helicopter jockey, when Chief Warrant Officer Herb A. Dargue, the grandson of one of the U.S. military’s first pilots, retired today.

 

Here is what I wrote in today’s Newsday.

 

Chief Warrant Officer Herb A. Dargue represents the end of the line, both for the New York Army National Guard and for the Dargue family itself.

 

The veteran helicopter pilot, a hale man of 62 whose retirement Friday ends a military career that began in the 1960s, is the last Vietnam War pilot still flying for the New York Guard.

 

The Brookhaven resident is also the last pilot in a family whose aviation roots reach to the dawn of military flight.

 

 

CW4 Herbert A. Dargue, at the 3-142 Assault Helicopter Battalion Headquarters Ronkonkoma. (Charles Eckert photo)

“I’m very proud of my grandfather,” said Dargue, who flies Blackhawks with the Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation unit, based in Ronkonkoma. “He was at the very beginning of military flight.”

 

His grandfather, Maj. Gen. Herbert A. Dargue, flew two-seat biplanes during General Pershing’s 1916 pursuit of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Two years earlier, he was the first pilot to use a radio in flight.

 

CWO Dargue’s career as a helicopter pilot began with the muscular enthusiasm of youth 43 years ago in Vietnam, a 20-year-old Army airman dodging death at the controls of a multimillion-dollar aircraft. Dargue does not want it to end with a whimper – a retirement party, handshakes from colleagues, a final goodbye.

 

“I’m looking for a job,” said Dargue, of Brookhaven, whose last flight with the Guard is scheduled for this morning. “Flying is in my blood.”

 

Flying is also amply represented on his resume.

 

Other pilots express astonishment at his more than 20,000 hours at the controls.

 

After flying combat missions in the Mekong Delta, Dargue left the Army in 1969 to work as a helicopter pilot, ferrying traffic reporters above Washington, D.C., for a capital radio station. Later he provided helicopter training for the Iranian military, from 1977 to 1979 when the overthrow of the shah forced Dargue to flee. He joined the Guard in 1980 while keeping his day job as a corporate pilot based in New York. But in 2005, Dargue found himself again in a combat zone, when his unit was deployed to Iraq.

 

An amazing career

 

“I don’t know anyone with 20,000 hours in helicopters,” said Richard Schmitt, of Danbury, Conn., who flew corporate choppers for 40 years, before retiring in 1999. “It represents an amazing career in helicopters. I probably have 1,700 or 2,000 hours, which is very respectable in military aviation.”

 

Schmitt, 67, who also flew helicopters in Dargue’s Guard unit, described Dargue as a low-key professional whose experience has steeled fellow Guardsmen.

 

“He’s not a flash dancer, so to speak – he’s rock-steady Herb,” Schmitt said. “I think the example that he sets rubs off on others – keeping your head and doing the job with very little fanfare.”

 

His calm demeanor probably saved his life on at least four occasions, when he went down while flying helicopters whose power quit.

 

Each time, he coolly used the helicopter’s own downward momentum to power the rotor and steer himself to safety, including once when he had to weave between buildings to set down in a Long Island City parking lot.

 

“He’s an aviator’s aviator,” said Keshner, 66, of Great Neck, who flew up from his Florida winter home to attend Dargue’s Champagne-doused send-off Friday. “He’s the end of an era for all the Vietnam guys.”

 

http://www.militaryconnection.com/news%5Cm...tor-career.html

 

http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/03/19/36135...s-and-two-wars/

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Jim,

 

What an interesting posting...thanks for sharing the information. CWO Dargue and I are contemporaries in that I had a look at Army aviation in 1967 also and for the same reasons he did. However, being about 3-years older and a resident of southern California (in the sixties!!!) common knowledge in that area at the time was that flying those helicopters in Vietnam was a dicey proposition best left to the quick and the brave, not to occasionally sober romantics. When he mentioned the older generation being a little crazier and more fun, I think he was slightly understating the era. Have a look at "Animal House" and the "Big Chill" for a couple of reasonable film treatments of the people of those times.

 

There is a fair amount of information available for Gen. Dargue for the purposes of my interest in this study; still, I wonder what private thoughts CWO Dargue might have when he is alone to think--bet there is an interesting story to be told there. It's pretty remarkable that he represents a nearly century-long unbroken father-son-grandson involvement in Army aviation dating back to the very first flights.

 

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This is the second installment of the information on some of the hard to find Military Aviators found in RG94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1890-1917. Unfortunately this record group ends on the eve of WWI and any records beyond that date are now in RG407, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1917- which I don’t have. One of these days when I’m feeling flush, I’ll order the wartime and postwar records.

 

Hollis LeRoy Muller

Muller, whose name was also spelled with an umlaut over the U, or alternately spelled Mueller, was born in Birmingham, AL on 30 October 1887. He graduated from Norwich University, a military school, in Vermont on 18 June 1908 and applied for a direct commission under Article V, Paragraphs 21-37 of the Army Regulations. However, because he was only twenty years old when he graduated the Army rejected his initial application, telling him to wait until 1909 when he would be twenty-one. There now developed a catch-22. Muller wanted to be exempted from taking the competitive written exam that was required of all applicants except those who graduated from designated military schools, Norwich being one of them. But the AG’s office refused to grant him a waiver because the existing regulation, War Department General Order 180, authorized the waiver only if the application was made at the time the applicant graduated, which for Muller was in June 1908. Since he was only twenty at that time, his application was not formally submitted until December.

Because Muller was backed by Senator William P. Dillingham (R-Vermont) and former Army general and governor of Vermont, Urban A. Woodbury, the War Department waived the exam requirement and directed Muller to report to Washington Barracks on 2 February 1909 to be examined by a board of officers. But there was still a problem.

Muller passed the physical examination except that he was not tall enough. He was a half inch under the minimum height requirement of five feet seven inches, and on 8 February the board of officers declared him to be “not qualified.” It was at this point that his backers’ influence with the White House came into play. On 30 March 1909, President Woodrow Wilson granted Muller an exemption from the height requirement and the “Staff” found Muller qualified for a commission as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery. On 28 April 1909 Muller was commissioned and arrived at his first duty station, Ft. Hancock, NJ on 28 June 1909.

For the next two years he went through a series of service schools to bring him up to speed as a serving officer. His annual efficiency reports reflected his progress which was rated as excellent, and on 10 April 1911 he was recommended for promotion to first lieutenant. He was promoted on 25 June and a month later he requested detail to the Signal Corps for aviation duty. His name was placed on a list of officers who had also requested assignment. Six months later the first black mark appeared on his record.

From 8 March to 25 June 1911, Muller was on detached service to Galveston, TX where he commanded the 134th Coast Artillery Company. While in that position he cashed a $30 check, drawing the funds from the company fund. The problem was that when he wrote the check he had only $5 in his checking account, and his check bounced. Writing an insufficient-funds check was a serious matter in 1911, especially when an Army officer did it, and doubly so when company funds were involved. The result was a serious reprimand issued by Brig. Gen Tasker H. Bliss, with copies to the Chief of Staff of the Army. In his reprimand, Brigadier General Bliss wrote that Muller was “careless in the matter,” and his actions were “highly improper and extremely reprehensible.”

In the meantime, Muller again applied for assignment to Signal Corps aviation and was told that he was already on the list. While he was waiting to rise to the top of the list he had a second problem involving money, and this one was far more serious in the eyes of the Army.

On 7 May 1912, Lawrence Priddy, an insurance salesman, complained to the Secretary of War that Muller owed him $65.52 for an insurance policy that Priddy had written. The debt went back to 1909 and despite repeated attempts to collect, Priddy was still unpaid. The matter went down the line and Muller was ordered to explain the situation from his viewpoint. Muller’s convolute reply did nothing to clear up the matter and Adjutant General asked the Judge Advocate General for an opinion. The JAG wanted no part of what was actually a civil matter, and told the AG that Priddy was free to sue Muller just as he would any citizen. But the situation became more complicated and the Inspector general was asked to investigate. In the end, Priddy and Muller came to an agreement in which Priddy issued a new insurance policy and Muller paid a reduced fee. Nearly four months late the matter was settled, but the Army did not look kindly on 1st Lt. Hollis Muller whose financial problems had taken so much of the AG’s time.

On 16 July 1913, Muller was ordered to report to the Signal Corps aviation school in San Diego for flight training. He progressed steadily, if not brilliantly, passing his FAI basic pilot’s certificate tests on 21 September for which he received certificate #272 three weeks later. On 15 January 1914 he was rated a Military Aviator while a member of the 2nd Company, 1st Aero Squadron. Muller was still a member of the 1st Aero Squadron when the decision was made in February 1914 to stop using pusher aircraft, and the Aviation Section made a complete conversion to the Curtiss control system, requiring that all Wright pilots be retrained. Since Muller had been a Wright pilot from the start of his flight training, the change meant that he had to be trained on an entirely different control system. He completed the transition training successfully.

He was among the thirteen MAs on duty when HR5304 became law on 18 July 1914, creating the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps and establishing a new rating of Junior Military Aviator (JMA) Those eighteen officers were re-rated as JMAs. He was also promoted to Captain (temporary) on 23 July under the provision of the new law.

He apparently avoided becoming involved in the growing rift between Capt. Arthur S. Cowan, the school commandant, and several of the pilots. In fact, other than acting as the Aviation Section’s official observer at the 5 August 1914 bombing tests, he maintained a low profile until 8 October 1914.

On that date he set an American altitude record on 17,441 feet in a Curtiss Model J tractor, SC No. 30. On 13 October Captain Cowan described Muller’s accomplishment as “a very fine piece of work, carefully planned and well executed.” Brigadier General Scriven, CSO, wrote, “This is a very commendable piece of work.” The ACA, the organization who kept the official records, disagreed with the Army figure and credited Muller with reaching 16,798 feet, still an American record.

Tragedy struck on 21 December when Muller and 2nd Lt. Frederick J. Gerstner were flying from San Diego to Los Angeles for the start of the Mackay Trophy contest. They were in a Curtiss J, SC No. 29, when strong winds forced them down just off the beach near Point Arguello, CA. Lieutenant Gerstner tried to swim ashore to summon help, was trapped in the kelp, and drowned. Muller, remained with the plane and was shortly rescued by the USS Truxton.

Up to this point, Muller’s career appeared to be on track. Other than two black marks on his efficiency reports for money issues, and an annoying propensity to make frequent and questionable reimbursement claims, his record was clear. He had been rated a MA, held the American altitude record, and had been the adjutant and supply officer of the 1st Aero Squadron since January 1915. But something was wrong.

On 13 May 1915 1st Lt. Walter R. Taliaferro, the officer in charge of flight training at San Diego, recommended through channels that Muller be relieved of aviation on the grounds that “he lacks ability to be a flyer of requisite skill for military flying. He went on to state that Muller “has almost no knowledge of aeroplanes and motors, and in cross-country work where minor repairs were needed, would be helpless.” Taliaferro wrote “I would not fly with him as the observer and I am sure this opinion is concurred in by all other flyers of sufficient experience to make their opinions valuable.” Taliaferro warned that “retaining him on duty as an aviator would endanger the lives of himself and others who might be called upon to fly with him as observers.”

Taliaferro’s charges are surprising for several reasons. Foremost is the fact that since Muller was a rated MA, now a JMA, he was not undergoing flight training and was not under Taliaferro’s supervision. Additionally, two months earlier, on 16 March, Taliaferro and seven other officers had joined in a conspiracy to have Captain Cowan court martialed for criminal fraud. The conspiracy was then ongoing and would result in the headline making Goodier court martial in October and November 1915. Muller was not a member of the conspiracy, but he wasn’t a member of Cowan’s camp either. If anything, he was one of five or six outsiders. The crash that resulted in Gerstner’s death five months earlier might have been a factor in Taliaferro’s charges, but that is pure speculation as is the suggestion that since Taliaferro was a Curtiss pilot whereas Muller had originally flown Wright airplanes, the old Curtiss vs. Wright rivalry played a role.

But Taliaferro wasn’t the only one going for Muller’s throat. Capt. Benjamin Foulois also joined the attack. He charged that Muller, as squadron adjutant and supply officer, “has not in the past, shown ability and initiative in performance of his duties, that should be expected of an officer of his rank and length of service on aviation duty.”

Captain Cowan added his two cents as the third endorsement in which he wrote, “Based on statements from Capt. Foulois and Lt. Taliaferro, and from my own knowledge of this officer’s qualifications and record, I am convinced that Capt. Muller will never become a satisfactory military aviator and I recommend he be relieved from aviation duty.” That’s an astounding claim inasmuch as it was made by an officer who didn’t want to fly and didn’t know how to fly, but was drawing flight pay by filing fraudulent monthly statements that he made regular and frequent flights. In addition, In September 1914, Cowan had recommended that his protégé, 1st Lt. William Lay Patterson, who had a total of fifty-four minutes of flight instruction and could not fly an airplane, be rated as a Junior Military aviator. In his recommendation Cowan described Patterson as “especially well qualified for military aviation.” Patterson was rated a JMA on 17 September 1914. So why did Cowan claim that Muller, who could fly and was a rated MA who had been re-rated JMA, would “never become a satisfactory military aviator.”

On 9 July 1915 Muller was relieved from Aviation and returned to the Coast Artillery at Ft. Winfield Scott in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the six-page response that Muller wrote, in which he addressed every point that his three accusers made, is not among the AG’s records, and I couldn’t find it in RG111, Records of the Chief Signal Officer. However there is reference to the letter indicating that Muller wasn’t given access to some of the correspondence related to his relief and that the entire episode was done in secrecy to the point that he knew nothing of his impending relief until 9 July when he was handed his orders.

The issue of his relief dragged on until December 1916 when the AG sent copies of Muller’s letter to the CSO, directing him to reply to Muller’s rebuttal of the reasons for his relief. By that time Taliaferro was dead, having been killed in a crash on 11 October 1915 and Cowan had been discredited by the testimony in the Goodier trial and relieved of his command. The task of responding to Muller’s long letter fell to Captain Foulois who restated, and expanded on, his earlier criticisms of Muller’s work as squadron adjutant and supply officer. Foulois concluded by writing, “The inability of Capt. Muller to grasp the importance and necessity for military and technical coordination in the initial development of such a new technical unit as an Aero Squadron, and his further inability to subordinate his personal ambitions for the more important military duties and needs of the service were important factors in connection with my recommendations that his services were unsatisfactory.” Foulois concluded by saying, “I can see no reason why I should change my previous recommendation in this case.”

To that the CSO added that “Capt. Muller was attaching an undue amount of importance to his relief in that his relief is not of such gravity as to reflect on his efficiency record.” He further recommended that the case be closed “with no unsatisfactory reflection on the record of Capt. Muller.” In fact the case dragged on until March 1917 when the Inspector general concluded that Muller had been properly relieved for cause.

Muller requested transfer to the Field Artillery in June 1916 but the board of officers who examined him on 2 August deemed him to be unqualified. In the meantime, Muller was briefly involved with aviation from 10 July to 5 August when he was detailed to a citizens’ camp at Monterey, CA as the aviation instructor. His purpose was to help the citizens form “a proper conception of the use of aircraft in military operations, and the necessity for them.” Maj. Gen J. Franklin Bell commented that Muller was the only officer in the vicinity who had the “necessary knowledge of aviation to perform these duties.”

He was promoted to captain in the Coast Artillery Corps on 5 October 1916 and one month later was sent to the aviation school at San Diego for a “course of instruction.” There is no indication as to what the course of instruction was, but it was probably associated with the recently established Field Officers Course in Aeronautics, of which he later claimed to have been the chief instructor in 1916. In any event he remained on aviation duty and on 20 March 1917 was sent to the balloon school at Omaha, NE with five other Coast Artillery officers including Harold Geiger. Muller received FAI balloon pilot certificate No. 60 but apparently did not become a Junior Military Aeronaut. The only other entry in his AG file is reference to orders sending him to Akron, OH for unspecified duty after which he was to return to the balloon school at Omaha.

He was at the balloon School in June 1917 when he published his Manual of Military Aviation, a 308 page text that was used in the WWI Schools of Military Aeronautics (SMA). He dedicated the book to Frederick Gerstner who had drowned while swimming to shore for help on 21 December 1914. At the time Muller was a major in the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, and apparently remained detailed to aviation throughout the war, probably in the balloon section. Dwight (drmessimer)

 

This information is from RG94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1890-1917; RG111, Records of the Chief Signal Officer, 1912-1916; and RG153, Records of the Judge Advocate General, "Transcript of theCourt Martial of Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, 18 October-15 November 1915, NARA, College Park, MD.

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Hi Dwight,

 

Great contribution to this thread. Mueller is one of the more obscure original MAs and also one of the few of the surviving originals who could have joined the Early Birds, but did not. The animus described in your work could explain why he kept clear of the social relationships of such a group. Other MAs who did not join the Early Birds who could have, were Joseph Morrow and Fred Seydel, 2 other obscure MAs. On the other hand all the other living first MAs were Early Bird members.

 

Do you know when Mueller died? I have a picture of him in uniform in 1945 as a commander of a Hawaii based unit.

 

 

PS

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Paul: I have Morrow's and Seydel's AG files to 1917 and I'll work on those two next. I don't know when Muller died, but if and when I feel I can afford the next round of records purchase, Muller will be one of the pilots I ask for. NARA really gummed up the works when they slpit RG94 into two records groups. If you have the opportunity, could you please post that WWII photo of Muller? Thanks. Dwight

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Paul: I have Morrow's and Seydel's AG files to 1917 and I'll work on those two next. I don't know when Muller died, but if and when I feel I can afford the next round of records purchase, Muller will be one of the pilots I ask for. NARA really gummed up the works when they slpit RG94 into two records groups. If you have the opportunity, could you please post that WWII photo of Muller? Thanks. Dwight

 

Dwight, the picture was taken 4 July 1945, in Hilo when Col. Muller was the Commander, Army Garrison Force.

post-3515-1278693872.jpg

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