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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread


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This is the third installment of the hard to find MAs.

 

Fred Seydel

 

Seydel was born in Iowa City, IA on 20 September 1884. When Rep. A. F. Dawson nominated him as the principal candidate for West Point in September 1905, Seydel was a junior at Iowa State University. His appointment was for June 1906, prior to which Seydel would complete 1905-06 academic year at Iowa State. His grades and course of study at the University were sufficient for the Academy to waive the entrance exam. He graduated from West Point on 15 June 1910 ranked forty-third in a class of eighty-two, and accepted his commission as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) on 5 July 1910 while on post-graduation leave at his family home in Iowa City.

 

On 3 September, while still on leave, he submitted his resignation, citing family financial problems and the fact that he was the eldest of six children and the only one capable of providing the necessary aid. He asked that his name be placed on the list of “those to be called upon in any emergency.” Lt. Col. C. J. Bailey, Acting Chief of Coast Artillery, recommended Seydel’s resignation be accepted, but in the meantime, Seydel remained under orders to report to Fort Manor no later than 15 September. On 13 September, the Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, also recommended that the resignation be accepted and sent it up to the Acting Secretary of War who on 15 September replied that “on account of the pressing need of officers in the military service, his tender of resignation cannot at this time be favorably considered.” Seydel was ordered to report to Ft. Monroe, VA.

 

During the next six months, he was regularly rated as proficient in all aspects of his CAC training as he went through the various schools required of all new officers. But his performance was generally lackluster, and on 9 May 1911, his commanding officer, Lt. Col. I. N. Lewis, noted in Seydel’s first efficiency report, “He is rather diffident and lacking in energy. Does his work moderately well.”

 

In May 1911 he was ordered to Savannah, GA for duty at Ft. Scriven, GA where his progress continued to be recorded as proficient in all courses.

In March 1912, he requested transfer to the Ordnance Department and was tested at the Sandy Hook Proving Ground on 27 March. His average score on the test was a dismal 34.9% and his transfer request was denied. He returned to Ft. Scriven where his progress continued to be lackluster, but he was regularly rated proficient in all areas of his training.

 

On 27 May 1912, he applied for assignment to aviation duty and the Savannah Artillery District Commander, Col. Charles L. Phillips approved the request with the notation that his only objection to the detail was that “Lieutenant Seydel’s services at Ft. Scriven are needed and as such would be of greater value to the service.” On 7 June Seydel’s name was added to the Signal Corps list of officers for future consideration for assignment to aviation, and eight months later, on 15 March 1913, he reported to the 1st Aero Squadron (Provisional) at Texas City, TX. He remained there until 6 June 1913 when all the Wright pilots except three, were ordered to San Diego. However, Seydel made good use of his time at Texas City, passing his FAI basic pilot’s on 11 May. The ACA awarded him FAI Basic Pilot’s Certificate, No. 289, the following month.

 

Seydel had been in San Diego just two months when the first of a series of citizens’ complaints about bad debts surfaced. The first was from the Balfour Hardware Company in Savannah, GA for $10.31. According to the complaint, the hardware company had repeatedly tried to contact Seydel about the money owed, but had received no answer. The complaint came down from the office of the Secretary of War and landed on the desk of the Adjutant General who directed Seydel to immediately provide an explanation. Seydel replied in writing that the account was correct, but that he had “unintentionally neglected its payment.” He assured the AG that he would pay the account “with the least practicable delay.”

 

On 1 October he went on a one month leave to his home in Iowa City and while there requested a one-month extension, which was granted. During his absence, the Secretary of War received a second bad debt complaint from a Savannah businessman, Leopold Adler, for $23.70. Again the AG directed Seydel to explain in writing, and on 24 November he responded from Iowa City. In his reply, he explained that the debt was two months old when he received a letter from Adler that was “insolent and threatening in tone,” and he “resented the imputations and general character of the letter, and would pay the bill when ready.” He agreed that the amount Adler said was due was correct and assured the AG he would pay the bill “in January or before.”

 

Seydel returned to San Diego on 1 December and eight days later a third bad debt complaint arrived in the office of the Secretary of War. This one was from the M. C. Lilly Company in Columbus, OH, a sword manufacturer, claiming $12.83 owing. The letter included a stamped envelope for Seydel to use for mailing the payment. This time Seydel simply replied to the AG’s directive that the his “delay in this matter was unavoidable” and he would “attend to it promptly.”

 

On 30 December he flew as the passenger with 2nd Lt. Joseph E. Carberry in the second Mackay Trophy competition, which Carberry won. Despite having been away from flying for two months, Seydel passed his MA tests the following day, on 31 December, and was rated a Military Aviator. Five weeks later, on 5 February 1914, he request to be relieved from Aviation explaining that “the attitude of my father and mother toward aviation, combined with my mother’s illness, makes it impossible for me to ignore any longer their request that I discontinue flying.” His request for relief was granted on 17 February 1914 and he was ordered to report to Ft. Stevens, OR for duty in the coast defenses there.

 

Shortly after arriving at Ft. Stevens, he applied for a position as an instructor at West Point. He was making the special request because when the last annual preference lists were submitted, his was blank because he was then on aviation duty and had no intention of quitting. But now that he was back in the Coast Artillery, he was making the special request. An initial check of the records indicated that Seydel was eligible for four years of detached duty, which would have covered an instructor’s assignment at the Academy. However a later check showed that the actual figure was two years and five months, which wasn’t enough for the instructor’s assignment. Nevertheless, his name was submitted to the Academy superintendent for “remark.” The only comment that the superintendent made was that he had notified the academic department of Seydel’s detached duty status. In effect, his request for assignment was denied. He remained on duty at Ft. Stevens until he was transferred to Ft. Winfield Scott in San Francisco on 19 June.

 

On 7 February 1915 a board of officers at Ft. Winfield Scott found Seydel qualified for appointment to first lieutenant in the CAC, and on 16 June the AG placed his name on the promotion list. But a month later, the fourth bad debt complaint caught up with him. Like the first three, this complaint went first to the Secretary of War who launched it along the now familiar route for reply. In this case S. S. Gordon, Chief Cashier for the First National Bank in Astoria, Oregon, was demanding payment of $150 that remained on a $300 loan that Seydel had gotten from the bank. By the time the complaint reached San Francisco, Seydel’s friend, fellow officer, and co-signer at Ft. Steven, 2nd Lt. Leon R. Cole, was on the hook for the $150. Despite the latest black mark, and while the investigation was ongoing, Seydel was promoted to first lieutenant, accepting the commission on 27 July.

 

In this case, Seydel told his superiors that the bank’s claim “was in the main as alleged.” But he went on to explain that he had never been, and still wasn’t, able to pay-off the note. Since taking out the loan, he had married and his wife was expecting a child, making his financial difficulties even worse. However, his sister was selling a house for which she hoped to get $2000, part of which she would give Fred to pay the note. He assured all concerned that if his sister failed to sell the house, she would take out a loan “whereby I may discharge this indebtedness.”

 

The AG notified that Seydel’s explanation was “entirely unsatisfactory and cannot be accepted as an explanation for your failure to pay this note, or as a promise to pay it in the future.” He ordered Seydel to start paying “at least” $30 per month, beginning on 1 September 1915, and to continue paying every month until the debt was settled. Failure to comply with the order, he warned, would result in the “necessary disciplinary action to require it.” Seydel agreed to start the payments as directed and added that he had tried to get the bank to allow payments, but it “demanded full and immediate settlement.” Prophetically, the AG asked for a complete list of any other outstanding debts if there were any. There were.

 

On 25 August the AG wrote to him, “The Secretary of War directs that you be informed that the fact that you were complained against by the First National Bank of Astoria, Oregon, for failure to settle a note for $300 given them by you; in addition thereto, the fact that you have been several times complained against for failure to meet financial obligations, as evidenced by the records of this office will be noted on your compiled efficiency record.” Two days later the Secretary of War received a fifth complaint.

 

This one came from Tiffany and Company in New York asking for the whereabouts of Lieutenant Fred Seydel and demanding payment of $145, which represent the balance due on a larger, unspecified account. Seydel received his, now routine, letter from the AG demanding an(other) explanation. This time Seydel replied that upon receiving the AG’s latest note, he had immediately contacted Tiffany and promised to pay-up on 1 October 1915. He added, “The account as stated is correct. I have been delayed in its settlement by circumstances which I could not possibly have foreseen or avoided.” Unimpressed with the now standard explanation of forces beyond his control and a promise of future payment, the AG directed that the latest black mark be added to Seydel’s efficiency report.

 

In October, the month in which he was to pay his debt to Tiffany, the War Department ordered Seydel to the Coast Artillery School at Ft. Monroe, VA. Seydel immediately requested that the order be delayed for at least a year “on account of my finances.” He went on to explain that he was married and had “several obligations,” and only with “the exercise of the most rigid economy can I meet these obligations.” He added that the cost of moving to Ft. Monroe would “prove a serious obstacle,” and his living expenses in San Francisco were “very much less than they would be at any other station.” The Commanding Officer, Pacific District denied the request with the comment, “An officer should have his financial affairs in such condition that will be able at any time to obey orders of higher authority.” Seydel was ordered to Ft. Monroe without delay.

 

The sixth bad debt complaint came from an entirely different source, but was essentially handled the same way except that the complaint went from the Aviation school in San Diego to the CSO and then to the Western District Commander. In this case Horseshoer (a rank equal to Cpl.) C. D. Stewart wanted $8.70 for taking care of Seydel’s horse in San Diego, which included shoeing and clipping. Seydel replied that there was a mistake and explained, “While I owned a horse for a short time in Coronado, California, I am morally certain that it was neither shod nor clipped as many times as this bill states. Also, I gave money for the payment of these acts to the man caring for my horse. However, as I have no receipt for the money I paid for these services, and have no positive proof that they were paid for, rather than indulge in any controversy I enclose a check for the amount claimed to be do.” Six months later there was an eighth bad debt problem to deal with.

 

Seydel was still at Fort Monroe when the Independent Laundry in San Francisco asked the Secretary of War for help getting Seydel to pay a $26.20 laundry bill. In this case, when the AG’s letter arrived, Seydel immediately posted a check for the full amount to the laundry. He told that AG that he had been unable to pay the bill “due to expenses incurred in changing station from Ft. Winfield Scott to Ft. Monroe. And he added a sort of I-told-you-so when he wrote, “In October 1915 I submitted reasons through channels for my request that I be allowed to remain at Ft. Winfield Scott instead of proceeding to Ft. Monroe. I stated therein that I had obligations due at the first of the year and that the expenses of the move would work a hardship on me. The request was disapproved.” On 1 May 1916, again, the AG notified Seydel that the matter would appear as a negative entry on his efficiency report.

 

In late June 1916, at the height of the National Preparedness Movement in anticipation to America’s involvement in WWI, Seydel, still at Ft. Monroe, requested that his name be placed on the list of applicants for appointment to major in the volunteers if volunteers were called for. His application was positively endorsed with the notation that his work at the Coast Artillery School was “satisfactory.”

 

On 1 December 1916 he was ordered from Ft. Monroe to Ft. Worden, WA for duty in coast defense. Six weeks after his arrival there was an eighth bad debt complaint. In this case he owed $240 to the First National Bank in Highland Falls, NY where his father lived. The co-signer was 1st Lt. Joseph Carberry, an MA since 25 September 1913 and still assigned to aviation. Carberry assured the bank that if Seydel didn’t pay-up, he would. Again, Seydel replied on 13 February 1913 to the AG’s demand for an explanation with a woe-is-me and it’s-all-beyond-my-control answer. He agreed that the bank’s claim was correct, but dodged responsibility by referring to his attempt at resignation in 1910, which was disapproved. He then again cited the hardship the move from San Francisco to Ft. Monroe in 1916 had worked on him. He added that the birth of his first child at Ft. Monroe had exacerbated the financial problem. He did agree to pay-off the debt in $20 increments and asked that this incident not be added to his efficiency report. It was.

 

The United States declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917 and five days later the AG’s office was deluged with letters from congressmen, senators, and the Secretary of the interior to appoint Seydel a full colonel in the infantry. Clearly, Seydel, like many officers in the early 20th Century, had been cultivating political connections. Among his backers were Congressmen, Clarence F. Lea, Charles F. Curry, John A. Elston, John E. Raker, and R. M. Fitzgerald. Senator Hiram W. Walker and Interior Secretary Franklin K. Lane added their recommendations on 13 April. Nothing came of the blitz.

On 28 April Seydel requested a transfer to the Field Artillery for which he was examined and turned down. But there was a bright spot. Despite his questionable history, he was deemed qualified for promotion to captain, CAC on 9 May 1917, but in the meantime was appointed executive officer of a coast artillery company at Ft. Casey, WA. His performance there was excellent and his commanding officer gave him an exceptional efficiency report.

 

In June 1917 he was ordered to Ft. Sam Houston for unspecified service with the Aviation Section, and from 1 August to 5 October he commanded the School of Military Aeronautics at MIT in Cambridge. He went to France on 5 May 1918 and commanded the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Coast Artillery from 30 August until the Armistice, but did not see combat. After the war he attended the Army Industrial College and General Staff School and was on detached duty to the Chemical Corps from 6 June 1923 to 2 August 1926 after which he returned to the CAC. He was an instructor of the Organized Reserves in San Francisco until his retirement on 30 November 1934. One month before his retirement he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He died in Letterman Hospital, Presidio of San Francisco on 19 July 1938 at the age of forty-nine.

Dwight (drmessimer)

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I forgot to add the sources for the information in the above post. They are: RG94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1890-1917 and RG111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1908-1918, NARA College Park, MD; War Records Committee of the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology's War Record, 1914-1918, Murry Printing, Cambridge, 1920; and War Department, Battle Participation of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, Belgium, and Italy, GPO, 1920. Dwight (drmessimer)

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This is the fourth installment of the RG 94 records of some of the hard to find Military Aviators

 

Joseph C. Morrow, Jr.

Rep. H. Kirke Porter nominated Morrow to USMA in February 1905. Morrow took the entrance exam on 1 May and reported to West Point on 15 June. He graduated with the class of 1909 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry on 17 July. He joined the 23rd Infantry at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN, and was with the regiment when it was sent to Ft. Bliss, TX to join the 2nd Division in 1913.

 

During his nearly four years in the infantry he was an exemplary officer and there are no black marks on his record. When he applied for aviation duty on 2 May 1913 he was H Company’s senior lieutenant, though still a second lieutenant. At the time, the situation between Mexico and the United States was very tense, and the regiment was with the 2nd Division at Texas City, expecting trouble. Also at Texas City was the 1st Aero Squadron (Provisional) that had been sent there to support the troops in the field. Morrow’s commanding officer, Capt. O. H. Dockery, approved the request but with misgivings, writing, “Approved, but attention is invited to the fact that H Company has no first lieutenant with it nor assigned to it, and if Morrow is assigned to duty as requested, the present and prospective condition of field service would require the assistance of a sub-altern officer.” The request was approved and on 15 May 1913, Morrow literally walked across the parade ground to report to Capt. Arthur S. Cowan, who then commanded the 1st Aero Squadron.

 

Morrow arrived in the 1st Aero Squadron at the tail end of what Brig. General George P. Scriven, the newly appointed CSO, described as an “incipient mutiny.” In the resulting shake-up, Captain Charles DeF. Chandler had been relieved of command of the squadron and Captain Cowan had replaced him, effective 1 April. Morrow moved to San Diego with the squadron when the situation in Texas City settled down and it became clear that there would be no war with Mexico at that time.

 

When he joined the 1st Aero Squadron in Texas City, the pilots who made-up the squadron were all Wright pilots, so it was natural that Morrow would become a Wright pilot. At the time, the distinction between Wright and Curtiss pilots was significant and played a major role in the events that developed during the next two years and resulted in the Goodier court-martial at the end of 1915. The Texas City uprising that Morrow narrowly missed, was in fact the opening shot of a growing campaign to separate Army aviation from the Signal Corps. Whether or not Morrow’s exposure to, and association with, the early rebels affected his relationship with Cowan later, is hard to measure. His record indicates that he remained absolutely neutral during the following years and maintained a low profile with regard to the growing dissent. At San Diego, Morrow quickly developed as a very good pilot and passed his basic pilot’s certificate test in the minimum time. He passed his MA tests on 20 December 1913 and was rated a Military aviator on 27 December. Given his record and accomplishments in the short time he was assigned to aviation, his abrupt relief on 7 January 1914 after less than eight months is puzzling.

 

On 5 January 1914, Captain Cowan sent a telegram, to Lt. Col. Samuel Reber who was the Chief Aeronautical Division, stating, “Recommend immediate relief from aviation duty, Second Lieutenant Joseph C. Morrow, unassigned, on account of not being suited for this duty.”

 

Reber and Cowan had an understanding that Reber would immediately act on any request for an officer’s relief that Cowan made, regardless of the reason. In fact, Cowan didn’t have to provide a reason. As agreed, Reber immediately sent a memorandum to the Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, asking for Morrow’s relief. It was immediately approved.

 

Because Morrow didn’t protest his relief, there is no inside look at what caused Cowan to abruptly turn on an excellent officer and pilot. There is no history of disagreement between Cowan and Morrow, and Cowan offered no explanation for the relief beyond declaring Morrow “unsuited for this duty.” What is well documented is that in January 1914, a serious rift between Cowan and several of the pilots was becoming more contentious, and this might have been the first example of using his power of relief to settle a disagreement he had with a pilot. He probably had a run-in with Morrow, but neither man has ever put the details of any disagreement in writing. Morrow was a good soldier and he didn’t rock the boat. Instead he asked to be reassigned to the 23rd Infantry.

 

He didn’t get his request, instead being assigned to the 26th Infantry at Texas City. But an interesting thing happened seven days after his relief. Reber sent a memo up through channels noting that Morrow was a rated Military Aviator, and recommended that despite having been relieved from aviation, his MA badge should be issued to him. Fortunately, Morrow’s exile was short-lived, which raises another question.

 

In March 1914, the situation on the Mexican border again became tense when the United States Navy landed troops in Vera Cruz. The War Department directed Cowan to send five qualified aviators and airplanes to Galveston, TX for further deployment to Vera Cruz. Foulois, together with Taliaferro, Milling, Carberry, and Dodd went to Galveston with three Burgess airplanes. At the time, the 26th Infantry was with the 2nd Division at Galveston, and Morrow immediately sent a telegram to the CSO requesting reassignment to aviation. On 2 May 1914 Reber sent a memo up the line to the Chief of Staff of the Army recommending that Morrow “be detailed for aviation duty and directed to report to the commanding officer of the 1st Company, 1st Aero Squadron now at Galveston, Texas, under orders for Vera Cruz.” Reber’s recommendation was approved and the War Department ordered Morrow to report to Foulois on 4 May 1914. What happened; why the turn-around from being unsuited for aviation to being needed? There are two possibilities, both related to the other. The first possibility was a matter of hard reality.

 

In March 1914 there was a severe shortage of qualified pilots, meaning Military Aviators. Five of them were already at Galveston, and all of them were Wright pilots who had already made the transition to the Curtiss control system that was used on the three Burgess tractors they took with them to Texas. The Wright pilots who remained in San Diego, Muller and Willis, were not yet trained on the Curtiss control system and the two Curtiss pilots who were MAs, Geiger and Goodier, were need there to train the others. How the pilot selections were made for the Galveston deployment was a matter of inside politics, but we won’t go into that here. In any event, Morrow was a Wright pilot who had transitioned to the Curtiss system before he was relieved, which made him a necessity.

 

The other possibility is that his relief was an early, in fact the first, example of Cowan’s use of temporary exile to bring a rebellious officer into line, though there is no indication that Morrow was ever rebellious. The first documented use of that method occurred in March 1914 when Cowan exiled Robert H. Willis back to the infantry. He kept Willis there until December 1914 when Willis made a written apology. In that case, Cowan was on solid ground and Willis deserved to be relieved for insubordination, but Cowan’s use of the exile punishment was calculated, and it worked. So, it’s possible that whatever came between Cowan and Morrow in January was excused out of necessity in March.

 

On 18 July 1914 HR5304, creating the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, became law. Included in the act was a new rating of Junior Military Aviator (JMA) and an upgrading of the requirements for Military Aviator. Those who were then rated MAs were reduced to JMA, including Morrow. On the plus side, the Act included the provision that JMAs would advance one rank, making all second lieutenants, including Morrow, first lieutenants, and those who were all ready first lieutenants became captains. The act also authorized flight pay of 50% of the officer’s base pay and the new temporary rank. The new law also put pressure on Cowan and fueled the fires of rebellion.

 

Morrow remained active, being assigned to the 1st Company, 1st Aero Squadron as a first lieutenant, his rank under the new law, and taking part in the second Mackay Trophy Contest on 23 December 1914. Unfortunately bad weather, high winds, and a broken fuel line cause Morrow and his passenger, 2nd Lt. Ralph C. Holliday to crash, destroying the airplane. It was the same Mackay Trophy Contest in which Muller and Gerstner were forced down at sea, and Gerstner drowned swimming to shore.

 

In June 1915 he, together with a mechanic and an airplane, Morrow was sent to San Francisco to make a flying demonstration at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a ten-month extravaganza that attracted visitors from all over the world. On 9 June, Adm. T. B. Howard, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet, wrote a letter of commendation to the CSO citing Morrow’s high altitude demonstration the previous day. Admiral Howard wrote that “the flight reflected great credit upon the service.”

 

On 26 July 1915 Morrow was part of the 1st Aero Squadron flight that Captain Foulois led from San Diego to Ft. Sill., OK to work with artillery at the school. Three weeks after arriving at Ft. Sill, Morrow led a flight of 2 JN-2s from Fort Sill, OK to Brownsville, TX, to support the 2nd Division in field operations. The detachment arrived in Brownsville on 18 August. Concerned that the underpowered JN-2s lacked the climbing power to operate from the field assigned to them, Morrow wired the CSO that the field assigned to them was too small and too rough for use. He recommended moving six miles farther out where there was another field that was large enough to be used safely, but lacked water and telegraph or telephone communication. It was a reasonable recommendation and reflected his concern for the safety of the airplanes and his men. Lieutenant Colonel Reber wired back, “Go into camp at or near the post. Prepare field which you report rough so that machines can start and land. You are equipped with service machines and none others will be furnished. If you cannot meet the incidents of active service, you will be superseded.”

 

On 5 September, Morrow and his observer, Pfc. Adam Khuen-Kryk had just taken off and were at about 200 feet, making a gradual left turn, when the JN-2 stalled and crashed. Morrow was injured and Dodd was sent to Brownsville to relieve him as the detachment commander. While he was on sick leave recovering from his injuries, a board of officers reported that the airplane, No. 46, had taken off in gusty wind conditions and was making a moderate angle climb when Morrow started his left turn. The stall was attributed to the JN-2’s low power and the gusty wind caused the airplane to momentarily loose airspeed.

 

Morrow was on leave from 1 January to 4 February 1916 and reported to the 1st Aero Squadron at the new San Antonio Aviation Center at Ft. Sam Houston. Had he stayed there, he would have gone with the squadron to work with Pershing’s Punitive Expedition in March. Instead, he was ordered to San Diego on 11 February in preparation to take command of a squadron to be formed and sent to Hawaii, a plumb assignment. He left San Antonio on 9 March.

 

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the squadron. Shortly after he returned to San Diego the injury that he sustained in the 5 September crash flared up and he requested three months sick leave. There was a delay in granting the sick leave because the pilot shortage was such that he had to wait until a new JMA was qualified. On 27 April he left San Diego to enter Letterman Army Hospital in the Presidion of San Francisco. He was there until 19 July.

 

Upon his return to duty on 19 July 1916 the Preparedness Movement was in full swing and the Aviation Section, profiting from the provisions of the 1916 National Defense Act, was rapidly expanding. Morrow was ordered to Chicago to establish Ashburn Field as a pilot training station. For the remainder of 1916 he remained in the Central Military Department, headquartered in Chicago, selecting and setting-up new training airfields in the Central Department. On 2 October he was promoted to captain in the infantry.

 

A measure of how fast things were moving occurred on 6 March 1917 when he was rated qualified for promotion to major, and on 14 May he was appointed Aeronautical Officer, Central Department. He was promoted to major in the infantry in June. Morrow remained a staff officer throughout the war, going to England as lieutenant colonel in December 1917. From June to September 1918 he served under Foulois and then Mitchell in the First Army, and in September through October he was Chief, Air Service 3rd Corps. On 9 September he was promoted to colonel along with several other Air Service officers, including Frank Lahm. In November he was assigned Inspector, Air Service and held that position until the end of the war.

 

According to the USMA Register of Graduates, he resigned from the Army in 1921, but was reappointed in 1922, and retired as a colonel in 1923. He died in Washington on 17 March 1935 at the age of fifty.

 

The sources for this information are: RG94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1890-1917; RG111, Records of the Chief Signal Officer; RG153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Transcript of the Court Martial of Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, 18 October-15 November 1915, Nara, College Park, MD; and The World War I Diary of Frank Lahm, Maxwell AFB.

 

Dwight (drmessimer)

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Here is a page I found online showing Fred Seydel's short bio at graduation from West Point. I couldn't make out all the words, but took a stab at it:

 

Iowa City, Iowa

 

“Sid,” “Si,” “Fritz”

 

Act. Sergt. A.B. Sharpshooter.

 

Old Fritz will graduate with a broken heart (though all who know him say he conceals it well, for life was spoiled for him when he failed to attain the darling ambition of his career—the Presidency of the Y.M.C.A. Long and arduously had he labored in the ways of the righteous, and his voice could be heard lifted in prayer _____ and ____ above the rest the withdrawl of the Northfield ____ was _____ _____ and there he (be?) claim that since then Fritz has several times slipped from the straight and narrow path--___ ____ they assert that ___ various occasions he has been seen looking on at games of bridge and not obeying the call to quarters promptly. These shortcomings, with his skill as a billiard player, have called forth _______ ing reproach? from Sister Miles test nevertheless. Fritz has never wavered in his determination to become a foreign missionary, and we pray has success.

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Paul: That's an interesting post, and I wonder what--if anything--the writer was trying to say. I guess that most of those writings are inside humor that's lost on the rest of us, but some of it might have more important meaning. Anyway, here is the fifth installment in the posts dealing with hard to find MAs.

 

Carlton G. Chapman

Chapman graduated from West Point in June 1909, ranked 79th in a class of 103. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and was assigned to the 7th Cavalry at Ft. Riley. In March 1911 he went with the regiment to the Philippines for a three year assignment.

 

After two years in the Philippines, he asked for detached service to aviation and on 6 March 1913 was detailed to Frank Lahm’s seasonal flying school at Ft. William McKinley and later at the Manila Polo Club at Pasay on Manila Bay. He was a Wright pilot, and passed the FAI basic pilot’s certificate, tests in May 1913, FAI Certificate #241, and qualified as a Military Aviator (MA) in July 1913. Because there was no permanent aviation unit in the Philippines, Chapman’s assignment was temporary, and in June he submitted a list of three preferred duty stations—Ft. Myer, VA, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA, and the Presidio of Monterey, CA—all of which were cavalry stations.

 

In September, a bewildering set of orders showed up that threw Chapman’s assignment status into utter confusion. Chandler and Lahm say that both Lahm and Chapman were returned to the 7th Cavalry in November 1913, but on 17 September 1913, the War Department issue Special Order No. 217 detailing Chapman to “aviation duty with the Signal Corps.” Then, two weeks later, the War Department issued Special Order No. 228, transferring him from the 7th Cavalry to the 13th Cavalry, and ordering him to “proceed on or about 15 January 1914 to join the regiment in the United States.” Was he on aviation duty or was he in the cavalry?

 

The CSO wanted to know which set of orders was in effect, and on 2 October sent a memo to the AG for clarification. The AG’s position was not entirely rock solid as evidenced by his reply, “The order, as it stands, probably relieves him from aviation duty; does it not?” He added that if the CSO wanted Chapman on aviation duty, he should make a formal request for that.

 

The CSO made a formal request that Chapman “remain on aviation duty and after his arrival in this country be directed to proceed from San Francisco and on his arrival at that place be directed to the Signal Corps Aviation School, San Diego, California for duty.” On the date that Chapman left the Philippines, 15 January 1915, Col. William A. Glassford, Signal Officer, Philippine Department, sent a memo up the line to the CSO lauding Chapman’s aviation service. He described Chapman as conscientious, painstaking, and an apt pupil,” who showed “caution and good judgment.” He also wrote that Chapman was “well qualified temperamentally and through experience and training, to continue on aviation duty.”

 

The confusion about his status didn’t end with his departure from the Philippines. Nine months later, Lt, Col. Tyree R. Rivers, commanding officer of the 13th Cavalry in Columbus, NM wanted to know where the replacement second lieutenant was, noting that there was nothing in the Army List and Directory for 20 August 1914 showing that 2nd Lt. Carleton G. Chapman had been transferred from the 13th Cavalry. In reply, the AG sent Lieutenant Col. Rivers a copy of War Department Special Order No. 70, dated 22 July 1914 detaching Chapman to aviation duty from the 13th Cavalry. The fact that he had been detached under orders dated seven months earlier somehow was lost in the shuffle. At the time, Chapman was on aviation duty in San Diego.

 

Chapman was a major player in the development of Army aviation. In February 1914 he was a member of the board that condemned all pusher engine airplanes and transitioned the Aviation Section from the Wright to the Curtiss control system, which meant he had to make the change. On 18 July 1914 when HR5304 became law, he was re-rated JMA, advanced to first lieutenant, and started drawing 50% flight pay. In March 1914, when Foulois took a 1st Aero squadron detachment to Galveston for the developing crisis with Mexico, Chapman remained in San Diego as part of the 1st Aero Squadron—Curtiss pilots—that was left behind under the command of Captain Cowan’s favorite, 1st Lt. William Lay Patterson. When Patterson came down with another of his many ailments on 13 July, Chapman relieved him as CO, 2nd Company, 1st Aero Squadron. On 5 August he was still a member of the 2nd Company under the command of Lewis E. “Ned” Goodier. In July 1915 he went with the 1st Aero squadron to Fort Sill, OK, and in November he was with the 1st Aero Squadron when it flew from Ft. Sill to its new permanent home at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. On 26 January 1916, while at Ft. Sam Houston, he was determined to be qualified for promotion to first lieutenant in the cavalry.

 

He accepted his new commission on 10 September 1916 while with the Punitive Expedition at Columbus, NM under Gen. John J. Pershing, who later said that the fliers “aroused my most enthusiastic admiration.” But now he was over-grade for continued assignment to the 1st Aero Squadron, and highly thought of in the AG’s office and by the acting CSO, Col. George Squire. On 29 September 1916, the State Department requested that he be detailed as the Military Observer to the British Armies (Air). But the order was on hold for at least six weeks, and in the meantime, the acting CSO, George Scriven, made a futile move to retain Chapman.

 

While the pot boiled, Chapman sent his private mounts to Ft. Reno for the duration of his time on foreign service. On 10 October the Secretary of War directed that orders be cut designating Chapman as the Military Observer to the British Armies, and promoted him to the rank of acting major. On 11 October the Secretary of War ordered him to the Chief of Staff for “temporary duty in his office; that upon the completion thereof you proceed to London, England, and report to the American Ambassador in that capital for the purpose of carrying out instructions of the War Department.”

 

Chapman’s time in Washington was short and he was soon on his way to London. He served as the Military Observer with the British until June 1917 when he was sent to France to work with the AEF Aviation Officer. He spent some time as the Disbursing Officer, Air Service, AEF and then moved on to the Air Service, First Army where he served under both Foulois and Mitchell. He retired in 1922 as a lieutenant colonel, but was recalled in 1940 and served in the Inspector General’s office until1946. He died on 11 November 1971

 

The sources for this information are: RG94, Records of the Adjutant General, 1890-1917; USMA Register of Graduates, 1980; and The World War I Diary of Col. Frank. P. Lahm, Maxwell AFB.

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I haven't found any record of Chapman's place of interment. As the last of the first I would have thought he might have been better recognized, but that doesn't seem to have been the case. He died in Georgia, but haven't found any obit information from that area and no record of his interment in Arlington.

 

That he retired in 1922 is puzzling. Was there a 20-year active service requirement for retirement in those days? 1909 to 1922 is 13-years, plus 4 for the USMA time, which I think counts as active service adds to 17-years? Perhaps he was ill.

 

PS

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Paul: There is no citation for an obit in the Register of Graduates, but I'll send an email to Carlisle Barracks and see if they have anything. There was no mandated 20-year retirement, and the only hard date that might have applied to him would have been the 24-year limit for officers who didn't make the next grade. My guess is he either had a health problem, or a terrific civilian job offer he couldn't refuse. He certainly lived a long time after he retired, and he was called back for a six-year stint in the IG's Office during WWII, so if he retired due to illness, it was a passing thing. I'm working on McLeary now. Dwight

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Paul and Dwight,

 

The correct spelling for his name should be Carleton G. Chapman. His first name was often misspelled, a fact that used to send him up the wall. He retired to his wife's home town, Fitzgerald, GA and died there. His marriage was a long and unhappy one.

 

Note that he was born in Allentown, GA on 4 June 1886.

 

My understanding is that he received his MA rating on 26 June 1913, and received Expert Aviator certificate #14. While I've not seen General Order #60 if Dwight has a copy he may find the correct date listed in it.

 

Lt. Colonel Chapman was officially rerated JMA on 23 July 1914.

 

Hope this helps a bit.

 

Cliff

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I missed the fact that he lived on his wife's family homestead. There is a family tree record online that shows he had 2 brothers; one who died in 1948 and a second that died in 1965; his wife predeceased him by 3-years. Don't know if he had any children.

 

One thing I saw in that family record was that his father, a high school principal, died in 1921 and that the family had owned land in Twiggs Co. that appears to have been in the family since before the WBTS. That might have been the event that persuaded him to leave the Army. He married in 1924 and did maintain a membership in the Early Birds.

 

I've sent a couple of emails to the file owner and to the Fitzgerald, GA city mgr. to see if anything is to be learned there.

 

Paul

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Cliff,

 

Besides Carleton being his given name it was also his grandmother's maiden name and a name that traces its roots back through ancestors fighting in the Revolution and the French & Indian war before that. So for a southern gentleman to be expected to sit quietly while his given name is mangled is one thing, but for a substantial familial line to be similarly mangled was probably more than he could bear.

 

Cheers,

Paul

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Cliff: You're correct on two points. Carleton is the correct spelling of his first name, and I must admit to a typo in the heading of my post. And you are correct that Chapman qualified as MA on 26 June 1913 in a Wright Model C, SC-13. The 19 July date is the date of the War Department orders rating him as MA. The procedure was for the senior officer, in this Col. William A. Glassford, to forward by telegram to the CSO, a report that so-and-so had successfully completed the MA tests and a recommendation that he be so rated. The CSO forwarded the telegram with his endorsement to the AG, who in turn acted on it under the authority of the Secretary of War. The order was issued and sent by telegram back down the line to the initiating station. There was always a time delay between passing the test and receiving the rating, and it's the rating date that counts for purposes of additional pay, and after 18 July 1914, promotion to the next rank.

 

The delay between passing the FAI tests and the FAI certificate award was even longer. In Chapman's case, the delay was from May to July. That was because the ACA required that its rules for applying 1. to take the FAI test, and 2. for applying for the certificate had to be followed in exact detail, and all correspondence was done by US Mail. Dwight

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One thing I saw in that family record was that his father, a high school principal, died in 1921 and that the family had owned land in Twiggs Co. that appears to have been in the family since before the WBTS. That might have been the event that persuaded him to leave the Army. He married in 1924 and did maintain a membership in the Early Birds.

 

Paul

 

Paul: I think you're right that Chapman retired because of his father's death, on the basis that the closeness of the two events, and the fact that given his southern background, the decision to retire would make sense. Dwight

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If I haven't lost count, I think this is the 6th installment of RG94 information on some of the MAs

 

Samuel P. McLeary

McLeary was another early Army aviator who obtained a direct commission from civilian life as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery. And like most of the others, he depended heavily on political connections to secure his commission. Article V, Paragraph 34 of the Army Regulations then in effect, said that a civilian applying for a direct commission must be “a citizen of the United States, unmarried, and between twenty-one and twenty-seven years of age…” McLeary cleared the bar on two out of three of the basic requirements, but fell short on the third. He was already twenty-seven when he applied on 27 May 1908.

 

At the time, McLeary was living with his parents in San Juan, Porto Rico, where his father, James H. McLeary was an Associate Justice on the Porto Rico Supreme Court. McLeary was a Cornell University graduate, held a degree in electrical engineering, and was working in that field in Porto Rico. On 2 June 1908 the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Fred C. Ainsworth, rejected McLeary’s application for being over-age.

 

That same day Sen. Charles A Culberson sent a note to the Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, supporting McLeary’s application. The next day, Taft replied to the senator, through the AG, that McLeary was too old. Two days later, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeals, Seth Sheppard, paid a personal visit to Secretary of War Taft to add his strong support for McLeary’s application. That same day Rep. James S. Slayden and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Winthrop Beekman, had memos supporting McLeary delivered to Taft by courier. McLeary’s supporters were all well placed, active, Republicans, as was Taft, and on 10 June he directed the AG to waive the age requirement and notify McLeary that he was eligible.

 

McLeary went before the board of officers on 1 July 1908 at Ft. Leavenworth and was found to be “qualified” for appointment. The physical, however, posed another problem because McLeary was underweight. This time his father wrote directly to the new Secretary of War, Luke E. Wright, an old friend and political ally. He asked Wright to intervene and have the weight requirement waived. Citing two unnamed favors that the elder McLeary had recently done for him, Wright agreed and directed the medical board to waive the weight requirement. McLeary was appointed a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery on 25 September 1908.

 

His first duty station was at Ft. Barrancas, FL, near Pensacola, where he progressed steadily through his first year of training and development. He was a good officer and on 19 January 1910 he was recommended for promotion to first lieutenant. But promotions, even one that was strongly recommended as in this case, were not always swift in coming, and in March 1910, an impatient McLeary applied for transfer to the Ordnance Department because the Ordnance Department had no second lieutenants, and appointment to Ordnance brought with it an automatic advance to first lieutenant. It was a route to instant advancement that Hap Arnold was pursuing at the same time. However, unlike Arnold, McLeary actually took the ordnance exam, though he didn’t do well enough to qualify for assignment. As things turned out, it didn’t matter because his promotion to first lieutenant came through on 19 April 1910 and he remained in the 15th Company, Coast Artillery at Ft. Barrancas until he was sent to the 47th Company, CAC at Ft. Hunt, VA on 18 July 1910.

 

McLeary did well at Ft. Hunt, a single company post, where he was the second in command. His 31 December 1911 efficiency report described him as “a conscientious, hard working, officer who possesses initiative.” On 16 February 1912, McLeary requested assignment to the Signal Corps.

 

In his application, he wrote that he was a graduate of the Sibley College at Cornell where he studied electrical engineering, earning an M.E. Degree in 1904. He said that from that date until he was appointed a second lieutenant, he was “engaged in the practice of Electrical Engineering” and he believed that his “education would be a benefit in the Signal Corps.” One has to read his application carefully, because he isn’t requesting assignment to aviation, but rather to the Signal Corps based on his electrical engineering background.

 

On 18 March he was notified that his name had been placed “on the list of officers who are desirous of being detailed in the Signal Corps.” But being at the bottom of a waiting list was not what McLeary wanted and on 29 March he applied for “assignment at the Signal Corps Aviation School.” Once again, he was placed at the bottom of another waiting list.

 

Despite high marks on his annual efficiency reports, McLeary was not happy being in the Coast Artillery where promotions were slow and there was little opportunity to capitalize on his education and work background. Whether or not he was eager to join aviation is subject to discussion, but the record indicates that his primary interest was assignment to the Signal Corps and aviation seemed to be the quickest way to get there. Hoping to hurry the process, he again took advantage of his political connections, and on 25 April 1912, Rep. James L. Slayden wrote to the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, “strongly” recommending that First Lieutenant McLeary be detailed to the Signal Corps.

 

The word, “detailed” is important for what it specifically meant at that time. Clearly McLeary wanted to be transferred, which was different from being detailed to the Signal Corps, but that was impossible because the Signal Corps was only authorized fifty-two officers and all the slots were filled, and McLeary was not a Signal Corps School graduate. He had taken his commission in the Coast Artillery, and that was where the Army was going to keep him. He could be detailed for four years to the Signal Corps under Article VI, Paragraph 40 of Army Regulations, but had to return to the CAC at the end of his detail. And the letter that Representative Slayden wrote to the Stimson created confusion as to what McLeary was requesting. Secretary of War Stimson asked the AG for clarification; was McLeary asking for detail to the Signal Corps or to aviation?

 

On 11 June 1912, 2nd Lt. Leighton W. Hazlehurst, Jr. was killed in a crash, creating an immediate opening for a replacement. On 10 July the CSO, Brig. Gen. James Allen, recommended that McLeary be detailed “for aeronautical duty.” The recommendation was approved and War Department Special Orders, 111 were issued that same day.

 

During the following nine months that he was on aviation duty, McLeary continued to put out his best effort and earned high marks for initiative and hard work. After a short stay at the aviation school at College Park, MD, he, together with 1st Lt. Joseph D. Park and 1st Lt. Lewis E. Goodier, Jr., went to the Curtiss factory at Hammondsport for basic flight training and familiarization with Curtiss aircraft. They remained there until 25 November when they were ordered to join 1st Lt. Harold Geiger at North Island, San Diego.

 

Together with Park, Goodier, and 2nd Lt. Lewis Brereton, McLeary quickly progressed as an aviator, passing his FAI basic certificate test in January 1913. But Geiger’s failure to recognize the close relationship the ACA had with the Signal Corps caused him to dismiss the ACA’s rigid requirements for the certificate application process. As a result, the ACA disallowed the test results and directed that the applications be re-submitted with new test results. The upshot of the hassle over protocol resulted in a two month delay in the ACA awarding the three pilots their FAI certificates. In the meantime, McLeary went on to pass his MA test on 11 March. The War Department rated him MA on 19 March, one week after the ACA finally got around to awarding him FAI Certificate No. 210.

 

Eighteen days after he was rated MA, McLeary requested to be relieved from aviation. In his endorsement, Geiger wrote, “I consider Lieutenant McLeary to be an excellent aviator and one whose relief from aviation will be a distinct loss to the aeronautical service of the Army.” There is no explanation for McLeary’s decision to return to the Coast Artillery. Coming so closely on the heels of the dust-up between Geiger and the ACA, one might be tempted to cite that as the proximate cause of his dissatisfaction. There was by that time a rising sense of rebellion among many of the pilots who were on duty, and McLeary might have wished to avoid involvement in what had all the makings of a career-ruining blow-up.

 

While his relief was being processed, McLeary continued to fly and set a new Army altitude record in April. On 16 April 1913, He requested forty-five days leave to visit his parents in Porto Rico, which was granted, and the following day his relief came through. He returned to the Coast Artillery at the end of his leave, going to Ft. Washington, MD. On 22 August he asked that his Military Aviator’s Certificate be sent to him.

 

His father died in January 1914, necessitating an extended leave to be with his family in Porto Rico. Upon his return he was sent to Ft Mills on Corregidor where on 18 June 1916 he was recommended for promotion to captain. Four days later he again requested detail to the Signal Corps. On 8 August 1916, the AG recommended that McLeary be detailed to the Signal Corps to replace a regular Signal Corps officer, Capt. Elisha G. Abbot, who was due to retire on 2 September. Just before the transfer came through, McLeary was promoted to captain on 11 November 1916. He was at that time still at Ft. Sill on Corregidor.

 

For some reason, his AG file does not continue into 1917, so I don’t know if his detail to the Signal Corps happened or not. But if it did, it was for a limited period, not exceeding four years. I would imagine that by the end of 1916, with war already expected, Coast Artillery captains were in short supply and the Chief of Artillery would have had strong objections to losing a valuable officer to the Signal Corps, even on detached service. What we do know, since BlueHawk (post # 130) posted the information in this thread, is that in July 1924 McLeary picked up two hitch-hikers, Mortimer H. King and July Harold while driving from Norfolk, VA to Ft. Moultrle, IN. Apparently King shot McLeary twice near Columbia, OH.

 

At the time of his death McLeary was a Coast Artillery major. McLeary was the second of two MAs who were murdered. The first was Paul Beck whom Judge Jean P. Day shot in the back of the head in Oklahoma City on the night of 4 April 1922.

 

I think that Samuel McLeary was an excellent officer who was in the wrong career slot. With his electrical engineering training and experience, he was a natural for the Signal Corps, and he certainly recognized that. His assignment to the Coast Artillery was simply a matter of where the available openings existed when he accepted his direct commission. I think that he had no particular interest in aviation and used it simply to get assigned to the Signal Corps, where he really wanted to be. He wasn’t an aviator at heart, and after obtaining his MA rating, he literally bailed out to avoid the coming storm that was already brewing in 1913. I think too, that he quickly realized that aviation was not the route to a Signal Corps assignment, as evidenced by the fact that he reapplied for detail to the Signal Corps in 1916. His outstanding characteristic was his consistent pattern of giving whatever assignment he had, his best effort. His annual efficiency reports were always at the top, and his relations with superiors and subordinates were excellent. He was in short, an excellent officer. Dwight (drmessimer)

 

The sources for this information are RG94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1880-1917; RG111, Records of the Chief Signal Officer, 1912-1916; and RG153, Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army), “Transcript of the Court Martial of Lt. Col. Lewis E. Goodier, 18 October-15 November 1915, NARA, College Park, MD.

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Dwight, another masterful job on one of the early aviators. From what I’ve read elsewhere about McLeary, he was what we today would call a “good guy” and the fact he picked up those hitchhikers was just another example of his basic good character.

 

Another thing that has become evident to me about the early MA’s is that many of their superiors, most of them “Old Army,” considered the flying as just another acquired skill for some of their junior officers to attain. I think that some of the MA’s might have viewed it that way also. One exception I read about recently was the WWI Chief of the AEF Air Service, MG Mason Patrick who qualified as an Army pilot at age 58 in 1921.

 

It has been somewhat surprising that relatively few of the of the MA's stayed in aviation for the long haul, yet most of them clearly treasured that MA badge as most of the survivors continued to wear it on their uniforms long after it had been declared an obsolete badge.

 

The result, of course, of the indifferent Army approach to early aviation was that WWI aviation was little more organized than the infamous 1915 Mexican Expedition and set up the young aviators of my father’s generation to be thrown away as experimental canon fodder during the first half of WWII as precision daylight bombing was perfected. I suppose that bureaucratic inertia has always been an impediment to rapid development of many things. Maybe that's O.K. in most circumstances, given the monumental failures of rapid responses in the wrong directions we've tended to see more recently.

 

 

PS

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Another thing about the early MA's was that essentially all of them were quite young when assigned to aviation. As such they had no clout and very likely wouldn't have had occasion to speak with senior officers of the Signal Corps. They were fortunate to have had Allen, Scriven, and Squire as the CSO during those early years as each of those leaders were fundamentally supportive of aviation. As an adjunct to learning about the MA's, and the fairly recent online availability to some of the Library of Congress' photographic files I've been making some photo "mash-ups" of HQ picture files of various players in the story of early Army aviation.

 

This picture shows Gen. Mason Patrick, Chief of the AEF Aviation Service, together with his 2 principal subordinates in Europe, Fulois and Billy Mitchell. Mitchell worked diligently to undermine Fulois and Patrick was selected by Pershing to keep them under control. It's interesting that Fulois broke out ahead of Hap Arnold as a high level aviation commander and that most of the other first MA's were either assigned to other Army department duties or to jobs of varying significance below Mitchell and Fulois. One writer reported that Fulois recognized that Mitchell was the superior air commander and graciously subordinated his own wishes to serve in the air in favor of Mitchell, taking responsibility for the ground support functions himself.

 

Anyway, I find it interesting to put good quality portraits like these together in order to ponder how they might have interacted with one another. Note that the picture at right of an older Patrick shows him wearing his newly won (at age 58) pilot wings.

post-3515-1280120077.jpg

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No. 7 in the RG94 Installments

Lewis E. Goodier, Jr.

 

With regard to technological contributions to Army aviation, Lewis E. Goodier Jr. was one of the most important members of the original twenty-three MAs. He was well educated, energetic, and innovative. Goodier was another direct commission applicant, but one of the very few who did not rely on political backers when making his application. His father, Lewis E. Goodier, Sr. was a major in the Judge Advocate General’s office, but he played no role in his son’s application for a direct commission beyond submitting a letter of recommendation on his behalf.

 

Goodier applied for a direct commission on 6 April 1908 while a senior at Georgia School of Technology, where me majored in engineering chemistry. He specifically requested a commission in the Coast Artillery, but noted on his application that his “particular diploma is not specified in Paragraph III of General Order No. 1, Chief of Staff, War Department, 27 December 1907.”

 

He was asking that he be excused from taking the written examination for appointment. The General Order cited, which later became Article V of Army Regulations 1910, said that “applicants who are graduates of a distinguished institution…will be entitled to exemption in certain subjects.” Distinguished institutions were generally those with a military training program, and those with technology in their name. Georgia Tech qualified as a “distinguished institution,” but apparently Goodier was concerned that his Engineering Chemistry degree wasn’t exactly what the Coast Artillery was looking for.

 

In support of his application he was prepared to submit his Bachelor of Science diploma, together with the school’s latest course catalog “containing the course of study leading to the various engineering degrees.” In his case, he wrote, he was well versed in “gas engines, lubricants, contracts, and specifications.” He asked that the examining board accept each of the diplomas he would submit as fulfillment of the requirements of “said General order.” Goodier’s request was passed on to the Chief of Artillery who recommended that “if Mr. Goodier receives the diploma in Engineering Chemistry, the examining board should accept it.”

 

On 13 April Goodier received a letter from the Secretary of War saying that he was a qualified applicant and could go before the examining board on either 1 July 1908 or 2 January 1909. He chose 1 July after determining that those who passed the board would receive commissions dated ahead of those who went before the 2 January board. On 17 April, the AG sent him a letter confirming the 1 July date and telling him that the board would accept his diploma in lieu of the written exam.

 

He passed the board without difficulty, was found physically fit, and commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery on 25 September 1908 “with rank from that date.” But there was an error on his commission, which was made out to Louis E. Goodier, Jr., rather than Lewis E. Goodier, Jr. Despite the misspelling of his first name, he accepted the commission on 29 September and sent a request to the AG for name change. The new commission reached him at Ft. Hancock, NJ on 7 January with the notation that his date of rank was still 25 September 1908.

 

His first year of service at Ft. Hancock revealed a fast moving, “energetic officer with great potential for higher command.” His efficiency reports were off-scale, and on 19 January a board of officers found him qualified for promotion to first lieutenant. He was promoted on 1 June 1910 after only twenty-one months of active service. Six weeks later a question about property management came up that seriously threatened his career.

 

The issue was an affidavit written by Chief Mechanic, Sergeant Flaherty explaining the loss of tools and equipment under his care and supervision. Unfortunately the complete details of the situation are not included among the records I have, but from the tone, it appears that Flaherty, based on a survey report that Goodier wrote, was going to be held accountable for the loss, a serious matter for an enlisted man at that time. Clearly Flaherty strongly felt he was being unfairly treated.

 

The charge was that Flaherty’s affidavit had been altered after he signed it, the alterations were made without his knowledge, and those alterations changed the meaning of the affidavit. Goodier, who was the company survey officer, was the officer who made the alterations.

 

On 5 August 1910, Col. George S. Andersen, Chief of Staff, Eastern Department, issued an admonition to Goodier, directing that in the future he be “more exact and careful.” As in many cases, things are not exactly as they seem, and it might have been wiser for Colonel Andersen to have heard from Goodier before writing the admonition. Many people would think that an admonition was a small thing, but to an officer on the fast-track to greater things, it could become a major obstacle, especially when the Chief of Staff directed that the entire admonition be included in Goodier’s efficiency report.

 

On 15 August, Goodier sent a long, handwritten, memo to the Secretary of War, Jacob M. Dickinson, through channels, explaining his actions and asking that the admonition be rescinded. According to Goodier, what really happened was that he received a typed copy of Sergeant Flaherty’s affidavit from the post headquarters, not the original. And the copy was among a complete package of investigation prepared by his commanding officer, Capt Alfred M. Mason, that headquarters sent to Goodier as the initiating officer for review.

 

It seems that Captain Mason had determined that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against Sergeant Flaherty, and the needed additional evidence was unobtainable. At that point, Goodier should have let the matter go, but he didn’t. Based on his earlier findings in the case, and his reading of the captain’s report, he made insertions on the copy of Flaherty’s affidavit to rebut what the sergeant had written. He took that way to contest his commanding officer’s findings since he “did not deem it within his purview to comment on the action of his senior.” The report along with the copy of the affidavit and Goodier’s insertions, went back to headquarters.

 

At that point, whatever case there was against the sergeant was dropped, based on Captain Mason’s findings, and the sergeant made his complaint to the IG who passed it on to the Chief of Staff, Eastern Department, who issued the admonition on the basis that Goodier had altered the original affidavit before Captain Trotter received it. Maybe Colonel Andersen should have written himself an admonition to be more careful and exact in the future. In any event, the Secretary of War directed the Eastern Department to send Goodier a letter stating that the Secretary of War accepted his explanation as satisfactory. But the admonition remained in Goodier’s file along with his lengthy explanation of the facts as he saw them, and the Secretary of War’s direction that Goodier’s explanation be accepted “as satisfactory.” What effect that had on his service career is impossible to say, but a similar situation arose four years later.

 

On 5 April 1912, Goodier applied for detail to aviation. His commanding officer, Captain Mason, endorsed his request, writing, “he is exceptionally suited both by education and experience for this detail.”Brig. Gen. James Allen, CSO, recommended approval and placed Goodier’s name on the list of officers waiting for detail to aviation. On 27 September 1912 he was detailed to aviation and ordered to the Curtiss factory at Hammondsport, NY where he joined Park, McLeary, and Brereton. From Hammondsport he went first on leave and then to San Diego where the Curtiss pilots were gathered.

 

The men who went to the factory schools, either Curtiss or Wright, received their basic flight training there. When they reported to their regular duty station, in this case San Diego, they already had the basics of flight in hand, and all that remained was to gain experience. That was why Brereton, Goodier, Park, and McLeary passed their FAI tests so quickly in January 1913. But, with the exception of Goodier, the ACA disallowed those test results for purely procedural reasons.

Goodier passed his MA test on 3 February 1913, was rated MA on 14 February, and was seriously injured in a crash on 18 February. He was flying a new Curtiss flying boat, Signal Corps No. 15, equipped with an experimental Sperry gyroscopic stabilizer, and powered with a 75-horse power, V-8 engine. Goodier had never flown the flying boat, but the plane’s regular pilot, 1st lt. Harold Geiger decided that since Goodier had passed his MA tests, he was qualified to fly the boat.

 

Goodier was flying very low to the water when he tried to turn. Witnesses said that his turn looked good and he nosed down slightly to maintain flying speed, but the right wing tip clipped the water and the flying boat slammed into Spanish Bight between Coronado and North Island. The impact caused the hull to fail right aft of the pilot’s compartment so that the forward section folded back trapping Goodier between the control column and the engine. He was knocked unconscious. Glen Curtiss and John D. Cooper immediately rushed to the scene in one of the Curtiss school’s flying boats and pulled Goodier from the wreckage. Goodier, who suffered a fractured skull, was saved only by their prompt action, and was off flying status for several months.

 

Initially, Geiger reported the crash to the CSO saying that the cause was “due primarily to poor judgment,” but he “had not had time to investigate thoroughly.” The aviators who investigated the crash concluded that Goodier was too low when he started his turn. Though he correctly nosed down slightly to maintain airspeed, they believed that the airplane lost airspeed during the turn, which caused the wing tip to hit the water. They attributed the airspeed loss to the fact that the 75-horse power engine did not produce its full power because of the power required to drive the experimental gyroscopic stabilizer. Additionally, the single float added weight and head resistance, factors with which Goodier had no experience. They also suggested that the 20-knot onshore wind coming from the Pacific might have lifted the left wing as the flying boat turned across the wind. Following the crash, all future Curtiss flying boats were equipped with a brace, called the Goodier strut, that reached diagonally from the bow, across the cockpit, to the base of the engine stand. The purpose was to strengthen the hull and prevent a repeat of the collapse that pinned Goodier in the wreckage.

 

Goodier’s injuries were sever, though at the time his prospects for recovery were rated as good. The most serious injury was a fractured skull that required a three-month stay at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco, by May 1913 he was getting close to being discharged from Letterman and he requested two months leave. At that time, the dust-up between Harold Geiger and the ACA had occurred, and the “incipient mutiny” at Texas City had just been resolved. But Goodier, was already a recognized outspoken proponent for separating aviation from the Signal Corps, and his leave was denied.

 

He returned to San Diego in June 1913, but he wasn’t fully recovered and complained of chronic headaches and back pain. He made frequent visits to the Army hospital at Ft. Rosecrans, a situation that irritated Capt. Arthur Cowan. Goodier was not popular with Capt. Arthur Cowan, who was already looking for a way to send him back to the Coast Artillery. Working against Goodier was his openly stated view that in order to advance, Army aviation had to be removed from Signal Corps control. He had been expressing that opinion since the Wright pilots arrived from Texas City in June 1913. But in this case Goodier’s problems started sometime between June 1912 and June 1913 when an enlisted mechanic, Sgt. James F. Hartman, lost or sold some of his Army-issued tools. The disappearance of the tools occurred long before Goodier became involved, but through a series of events he was the one who ended up on the hot seat.

 

On 6 June 1913, just before the Wright pilots arrived at North Island from Texas City, 2nd Lt. Lewis H. Brereton filled out a report that the tools had disappeared, and recommended that “the responsible officer be relieved from all responsibility and… the amount…be deducted from the pay of Sgt. James F. Hartman.” The responsible officer was Brereton, who during the Curtiss period at North Island was in charge of maintenance. But Brereton did not submit the report. Instead he held the report until 24 June when his request for relief from aviation was granted. When Brereton left he gave the report to Goodier to handle because with Geiger in Hawaii, Goodier was the senior Curtiss pilot at North Island.

 

Goodier sat on the report for eight months until 24 February 1914 when he learned that Colonel Chamberlain would be arriving the next day to conduct an IG Inspection. Goodier did not want to be written up for the unfinished business of the lost tools, and on 24 February 1914 he endorsed Brereton’s recommendation that “the responsible officer be relieved from all responsibility and… the amount…be deducted from the pay of Sgt. James F. Hartman.” He submitted the report, which Brereton had written, through channels and forgot about it.

 

When the long-delayed report arrived in Washington, Reber denied the recommendation that Sergeant Hartman pay for the tools and rejected Goodier’s endorsement. He returned the report of survey with his own 3 March 1914 endorsement that said, “With the information that Sergeant Hartman was discharged by purchase on 28 February 1914, it is the opinion of this office that Lieutenant Goodier should not be relieved of the accountability of the property mentioned, in view of the long delay in submitting the report of survey.”

 

Why did he pick on Goodier? Why did he not hold Geiger responsible who, after all, had been the school commandant at the time? Or why not hold Brereton responsible since he was the officer who wrote the report and who had been in charge of maintenance when the tools disappeared? Reber went after Goodier because he sat on the report for eight months before submitting it through channels. By that time Geiger was in Hawaii and Brereton had returned to the Coast Artillery. Both were still reachable, but Goodier was immediately accessible. There was also the fact that Captain Cowan disliked Goodier, and Colonel Reber adopted the policy that Cowan’s dislikes were his dislikes.

 

In Cowan’s view, Goodier’s heel dragging in the missing tool incident typified the general disregard for military procedure that he was trying to eliminate. And there was the fact that Goodier was an outspoken advocate of removing aviation from the Signal Corps, which brought him into direct conflict with everyone from Cowan to the CSO. Goodier and Cowan clashed so often that he became “a pain in Cowan’s rump.” Reber was well aware of Cowan’s dislike of Goodier and the reasons for it, and he was already looking for a reason to send Goodier back to the Coast Artillery.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Reber’s reply to Brereton’s recommendation and Goodier’s endorsement represented the new reality at North Island. The tools had disappeared during in the flying club days when Russel and Chandler ran the aviation program with a lackadaisical attitude and the pilots were not held accountable for such mundane things as lost tools. But after Post’s death, Reber and Cowan, started running a tighter ship and began demanding greater accountability for the day-to-day running of the aviation school. During the spring of 1914 the pilots started becoming aware that the rules had changed, and Goodier had been one of the first to feel the pressure of tighter supervision.

 

During the tests of the Scott bombsight from 4 to 24 August 1914, Cowan called Goodier on the carpet for causing a near accident. It was the first of a series of incidents in which Cowan questioned a pilot’s flying and implied that the pilot was in some way doing it wrong. Coming from a man who could not fly and made very little attempt to learn how to fly, Cowan’s criticisms galled the pilots.

 

Goodier was preparing to take off for one of the bomb-dropping tests. As he was taxiing out onto the field, Milling approached the field at a very low altitude, circled the Curtiss hangers at less than 100 feet, and landed. Milling touched down just as Goodier started his take off run so that Milling’s airplane very nearly landed atop Goodier’s. It was a near miss, but Goodier was unaware of the close call until he returned from the bombing test and landed.

 

Cowan had witnessed the entire thing, including Milling’s low approach across the Curtiss hangers. The pilots who also witnessed the near disaster held Milling entirely responsible for the close call because he was supposed to have waited until the field was clear before he landed. Jones said that Milling made a regular practice of coming in low over the hangers and flying up the field at an extremely low altitude before pulling up and going around again and landing. In this instance Milling did not pull up and go around, and his landing caught everyone by surprise.

 

Cowan issued a letter to Goodier blaming him for the near accident and demanding a written explanation for why Goodier had let it happen. Cowan’s action outraged Goodier and the other pilots because the near accident was clearly Milling’s fault. Feeling that he was being unfairly blamed, Goodier immediately wrote to his father about the incident, saying that Cowan was biased against him.

 

Cowan’s dislike for Goodier was obvious to the other pilots. Kirtland said that Goodier “was not what you would call in good favor with Captain Cowan.”

And Jones said, “Captain Cowan’s attitude was decidedly hostile to Lieutenant Goodier.” Dodd said, “Captain Cowan had been wanting to get Lieutenant Goodier relieved. He seemed to find fault with almost everything Lieutenant Goodier did.” Dodd described Cowan’s official relationship with Goodier as “nagging,” and shortly after the letter incident Cowan told Dodd, “I don’t know what I can do with Goodier unless I have him relieved.”

 

In another instance he jumped on Goodier for maneuvering his plane on the ground in such a way that the prop wash blew a cloud of dust and debris into an open hanger. According to Goodier’s passenger, 1st Lt. Dr. L. Schurmeir, Goodier gunned the engine to swing the plane around in preparation for take off and “blew a cloud of dust into the hanger.” Cowan, who witnessed the incident, waited until Goodier landed and “proceeded to give Goodier a dressing down.”

 

The mechanics who were working in the hanger felt that Cowan did the right thing, but the pilots felt that Cowan was off base. Doctor Schurmeir, who was the school’s medical officer, sided with the pilots, saying that “Captain Cowan got on the nerves of the Army aviators who were a tense lot and who had to face daily problems of which Cowan had no understanding.” Whether he was right or wrong, the fact was that Cowan’s supervisory style was becoming tiresome to the pilots.

 

On 5 November 1914 Goodier was the passenger in a Martin TT flown by Glen Martin during the airplane’s acceptance trials. Martin was performing the slow speed test, and at the end of the one-mile course the engine stalled just as Martin was starting his turn. With his rudder still hard over, Martin applied full power sending the airplane into a 200-foot tailspin that ended when the airplane hit the ground on its left wing. Goodier, it the front seat, was thrown violently forward. His face smashed into the aluminum cowling, the force of the blow nearly severing his nose and causing a serious compound skull fracture. The impact drove the engine back into the cockpit, breaking both of Goodier’s legs and driving a 1-inch diameter steel shaft through his right knee. The fuel tank ruptured and gasoline drenched Goodier who was trapped in the wreckage. Glen Martin emerged from the wreck with a small scalp wound.

 

Reber took advantage of Goodier’s serious injuries to have him relieved from aviation. In a letter to Cowan he said that he would “plant the seed for his relief among the doctors at Letterman” (Army Hospital). Reber’s backdoor effort to rid the Aviation Section of Goodier were unnecessary, but in fact played no role in his relief and forced retirement. The truth is, despite what Goodier said about his ability to return to aviation, he was very seriously injured.

 

In May 1915 the AG asked the Surgeon General if Goodier would ever return to flying status. Goodier knew what was going on and he twice wrote to the War Department asking that he be consulted before any decision was made. On 29 May 1915 he acknowledged that he had not recovered the full use of his legs, and requested that if forced to retire he would like to go out as a captain in the CAC. At the time his captain’s rank was effective under the 18 July 1914 Act that created the Aviation Section and temporarily promoted all MAs one rank. His actual rank was first lieutenant in the Coast Artillery, to which he would revert if relieved from aviation. He closed his letter saying that he believed that he would fully recover in six months.

 

On 23 June the commanding officer at Letterman Army Hospital, Col. Guy L. Edie, wrote to the AG, “Capt. Goodier is now incapable of performing any duty whatever….Certainly the concluding proviso in Sec. 2 of the Act of 18 July 1914 applies in this case now.” The proviso to which he referred read, “Whenever…an officer assigned or detailed to duty of any kind in or with the aviation section shall have been found to be…incapictated from any cause whatever for the full and efficient discharge of all duties that might properly be imposed upon him if he should continue on duty in or with said section, said officer shall be returned forthwith to the branch of the service in which he holds a commission.” The order for his relief was issued on 29 June 1915.

 

Goodier remained in Letterman Hospital until 10 December 1915 when he was discharged on leave for six months. At that time his condition was best described as awful. But on 19 June, 1916, he wrote to the Secretary of War requesting that his relief from aviation under Special War department Order 150, 1915 be revoked “as having been issued under a misunderstanding.” When he was relieved on 29 June 1915 he had been in Letterman Hospital for six months, “sick and unable to walk” but had remained assigned to aviation throughout that time, and nothing had changed since then to warrant his relief. He wanted to be reinstated in aviation until such time “that I should be relieved or retired from active duty.” He closed by insisting, “I am not incapacitated from further flying.” He added that reverting to first lieutenant had work a “great financial hardship” on him.

 

Following a physical examination on 20 June, he requested a three months extension on his sick leave, and on 21 June 1916 a board of officers recommended him for promotion to captain in the CAC, an indication of what was coming next. On 28 June the result of his physical reached the AG describing him as unqualified for promotion. On 1 July 1916 the Secretary of War ordered him “placed on the retired list as a captain…to date from the date upon which he would have been promoted to that grade, by reason of seniority had he been found qualified.”

His retirement was short-lived. By mid-1916, the Preparedness Movement was driving the country toward rearmament and the War Department was making the first preparations for war. On 6 July 1916, Goodier was reactivated as a captain (retired) and assigned to the office of the CSO “where his technical knowledge of aviation will be of great value.”

 

He was assigned to the newly created Technical Aero Advisory Board’s inspection department. His job, and those who worked under him, was to insure that the aircraft manufactures working on government contracts used the best materials and produced airplanes that met government specifications. His first inspections were at the Hall-Scott Motor Co., the Glen Martin Aeroplane Co., the Christofferson Aeroplane Co., and Andermat Aeroplane Co. In December 1916 he was in Detroit and Monroe, MI. From there he went to Daytona, Miami, and Pensacola in January 1917. Then he went to Dayton to observe two airplane trials and back to Pensacola to inspect the Curtiss flight school there, paying specific attention to methods of training and performance of aircraft.

 

On 7 April 1917 he was assigned as the commanding officer of the temporary aviation training station at Essington, PA, near Philadelphia. Goodier spent the rest of the war either at Essington or as an inspector in the Technical Aero Advisory Board. His name did not come up during the Congressional witch-hunt into the so-called Aircraft Production Scandal in 1918.

 

The sources for this information are RG94, Records of the Adjutant General; RG111, Records of the Chief Signal Officer, RG153, Records of the judge Advocate General (Army); United States Senate, Aircraft Production: Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Military Affairs, Sixty-fifth Congress, Second Session. Vol. 1, Washington: GPO, 1918; and the Goodier Family Papers, Santa Barbara, CA.

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This is the last post about the hard to find MAs

Joseph E. Carberry

 

Carberry graduated from West point with the class of 1910, with a standing on No. 45 in a class of 83, but he very nearly didn’t graduate. During the summer camp of 1909, he was found in his tent with an empty bottle of beer, and subsequently court-martialed for “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline under paragraph 132, Regulations of the United States Army.” He was found guilty and sentenced to be “dismissed from the service of the United States.”

 

From 20 July to 17 September 1909 his sentence was under review at several levels. The school superintendent, Col. Hugh L. Scott, noted in his endorsement that “for the last years no cadet has been dismissed for being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, for drinking same, or for causing same to be brought within cadet limits. Sentences of dismissal, which are mandatory by regulations in such cases, have frequently been imposed by courts-martial, but have never been carried completely into effect.” He recommended that the sentence be mitigated to suspension without pay and allowances to 15 June 1910, the date of Carberry’s graduation.

 

The Judge Advocate General felt that a year without pay was “sufficiently severe,” and the Acting Secretary of War, R. S. Oliver, agreed, noting that it was a relatively minor offense. Oliver recommended that the sentence be commuted to confinement “to the limits assigned to cadets undergoing punishment until 1 February 1910.” On 6 September 1909, President William Howard Taft confirmed the sentence of limited confinement until 1 February, but added that Carberry was to “serve one punishment tour on Wednesday and Saturday of each week during that period.”

 

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 6th Infantry on 6 July 1910, and following his graduation leave, reported to his unit, which was then on Mindanao in the Philippines. Carberry was there from October 1910 to July 1912. His career progress in the Philippines was generally steady, but his record does show some problems that were noted in his efficiency reports.

 

The 6th Infantry returned to the United States in July 1912 and was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco where Carberry continued his training in various garrison schools. On 20 January 1913 he applied for assignment to aviation and was ordered to San Diego, arriving there on 28 March.

 

Carberry arrived at the school when it was an exclusively Curtiss operation. 1st Lt. Harold Geiger commanded the Curtiss detachment there, and Carberry joined McLeary, Goodier (in Letterman Hospital at the time), Brereton, Park, Rex Chandler (who was killed eleven days later), and Taliaferro as students. It’s interesting that of those eight officers, three were killed, one was retired due to injuries sustained in a crash, and one asked to be relieved following a fatal crash, a fifty-percent wipe-out rate. Glen Curtiss operated a private flying school on North Island and the Army camp was immediately adjacent to the Curtiss school. It was a cozy arrangement that allowed the Army fliers to use Curtiss equipment and receive some instruction from the Curtiss instructors. The arrangement was unofficial and probably illegal, but it allowed the students to progress more rapidly than if they had relied entirely on Amy equipment and instructors.

 

Carberry arrived just as Geiger’s run-in with the ACA was coming to a climax that made obtaining the FAI basic certificate a mandatory requirement. He completed his FAI tests on 26 June and the ACA issued his FAI certificate, No. 251, on 23 July. He went on to pass the MA tests on 14 September and was rated MA on 25 September 1913, which created an interesting situation.

 

The ACA demanded that applications for the basic FAI certificate be submitted according to a by-the-numbers process. Failure to follow the correct procedure to the letter, meant no certificate would be issued. But the same ACA handed out their Expert Aviator Certificates to any Army pilot who passed his MA test. All that was required was that someone tell the ACA the pilot had been rated MA. In Carberry’s case, the Signal Corps didn’t let the ACA know that he had been rated MA on 25 September, and on 1 November Carberry asked the CSO where his certificate was. Following the usual bureaucratic correspondence exchange, the ACA finally issued him Expert Aviator Certificate No. 17.

 

Despite what Chandler and Lahm wrote in their book, How Our Army Grew Wings (p. 262), Carberry and Taliaferro did not go to the Curtiss factory in Hammondsport in “the autumn of 1912,” since they weren’t assigned to aviation until March 1913. But they both did go to the Curtiss factory in November 1913 for a course in engine and aircraft construction. It might have been that experience that directed his interests to the technical side of aviation.

 

After returning to San Diego in December he set a new altitude record with Taliaferro as his passenger and that same month he won the Mackay Trophy. In January he was detailed to work with the Coast Artillery for a series of tests in the use of airplanes to locate mines offshore. The tests showed that mines could be seen from the air, but no further development efforts were made prior to America’s entry into WWI. That was typical of how things were done in Army aviation under the Signal Corps. A potential battlefield use of aviation would be tried, usually one time, and then dropped.

 

Following the fatal crash that killed 2nd Lt. Henry B. Post on 9 February 1914, Carberry was a member of the board that condemned all pusher airplanes. This was the moment when the pilots’ revolt, which came to a head in October and November 1915, and which caused repercussions in aviation until after WWI, got its start.

 

The issue was that Wright and Curtiss aircraft were unsafe, a fact that had been known for some time, but which the Signal Corps didn’t address. Following Post’s death, the Army bought no more Wright airplanes, and Carberry told the Western Department Inspector general, Col. John L. Chamberlain, “The machines we have in our camp are almost exactly the same as the one that Mr. Curtiss flew down the Hudson in 1910.” The upheaval that resulted from the elimination of all Wright airplanes, with their unique control system, and the adoption of the more “natural” Curtiss control system momentarily heightened the bitter rivalry between the Wright and Curtiss pilots.

 

In March, he was again a member of a technical board to determine the specifications for a new tractor-engine training plane. Among their recommendations was the requirement that a government inspector be sent to the factory to insure that the work was done properly and met the specifications.

 

On 26 April 1914 Carberry went to Galveston, TX with the 1st Company, 1st Aero squadron under Captain Foulois. The detachment was to have been sent on to Tampico, Mexico to support US Navy operations there, but that didn’t happen, and on 17 July the company returned to San Diego.

 

The day after their arrival, the Act of 18 July 1914 became law, creating the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, and creating the new rating of Junior Military Aviator (JMA). All MAs were rerated as JMA, but on the plus side, all MA’s were advanced one rank and received 50% flight pay. Carberry was now a first lieutenant, though the rank was temporary.

 

On 14 January 1915 the CSO sent him to Hammondsport, NY to act as the inspector in the Curtis plant during the construction of eight JN2’s consigned to the 1st Aero Squadron. After arriving in Hammondsport he went to Buffalo where the planes were being built. He test flew one of the airplanes on 4 June and wrote that he didn’t think it would meet the rate of climb requirement, but nevertheless, recommended immediate shipment and acceptance.

 

Following his inspector’s assignment at the Curtiss plant, he took a short leave before returning to San Diego, and on 26 July left from there with the 1st Aero Squadron for Ft. Sill, OK. He remained there until 19 November when he, Foulois, Bowen, Chapman, Rader, and Milling moved to the new San Antonio Air Center at Ft. Sam Houston.

 

During his time at Ft. Sam Houston, Carberry was the squadron supply officer, an assignment that produced a complaint from the Post Office. On 8 March 1916, Third Assistant Postmaster General, A. M. Dockery, filed a complaint with the Secretary of War charging 1st Lt. Joseph E. Carberry with “misuse of penalty envelopes.” The complaint stemmed from a report made by the New York Postmaster that a tool company in New York, Montgomery and Company, had sent a package containing metal files to the supply officer at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. The contents were revealed when postal employees opened the package to see what was being shipped in a penalty envelope. A postal inspector went to the Montgomery Company and was told that the label had been furnished by Lieutenant Carberry, the supply officer. Third Assistant Postmaster General Dockery provided the Secretary of War with a copy of the postal regulation governing the use of penalty envelopes. He pointed out that “there is no authority for officers of the Government to furnish penalty envelopes to private persons or concerns, other than to cover official information and endorsements relating thereto.”

 

The complaint went down the usual ladder through channels to Carberry for explanation. He wrote that the previous First Aero Squadron disbursing officer had made a practice of issuing penalty “tags” since that was the practice at the aviation school in San Diego. And when he became the squadron disbursing officer he simply followed the established procedure. He assured everyone that he had issued an order to his clerks to stop the practice. If Third Assistant Postmaster General Dockery was hoping to make a Federal case out of it, he was disappointed. The endorsements back up the ladder to the Secretary of War all recommended that the explanation be accepted as “satisfactory.” By the time the matter was settled, the Secretary of War had more to worry about than the misuse of penalty envelopes to send supplies to the 1st Aero Squadron.

 

On 13 March 1916, the 1st Aero Squadron was ordered to Columbus, NM to support the Punitive Expedition under Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing. Carberry flew frequently and was involved in several hair-raising experiences and at least one narrow escape. His actions brought him to General Pershing’s attention assuring him of a slot on Pershing’s staff in the AEF. He remained with the 1st Aero Squadron in the field until June when he went on sick leave to Maine. While he was there, the CSO sent him a telegram asking if he would be interested in commanding the Signal Corps Aviation Center, Mineola. Carberry replied that he would, and on 27 June 1916 he received Special Order 150 directing him to proceed to Mineola, NY to take command of the Signal Corps Aviation Station, Mineola.

 

The station opened officially on 22 July 1916 and the first unit there was the 1st Aero Squadron, NYNG. In addition to working with the New York Guard unit, he was sent to Stapleton, Staten Island on 15 September to inspect the Wittemann Aircraft Company. On 27 September 1916 he was made made the acting Aviation Officer for the Eastern Department, a collateral duty, and was promoted to first lieutenant in the infantry on 19 October. At that time he was advanced one rank to captain in the Aviation Section. He remained at Mineola until 30 July 1917 when he was relieved and left for duty with the AEF in France.

 

It appears from the available secondary sources that Carberry held responsible positions in the training program in France, but there is nothing about his brief post-war career or why he retired so early on a disability. He certainly lived to 74, so his disability couldn’t have been life-threatening. In an earlier post, Paul said that he didn’t leave much of a footprint, and that’s absolutely right. The man is an enigma. Even his AG file is incomplete, and I don’t know why. My take on Joseph Carberry is that he was a private sort of person, who didn’t say much and certainly didn’t write anything. He was not the sort of person who forwarded himself, though he was clearly a capable person and possessed substantial self-confidence. But I found no evidence that he was an ambitious man, and what we have of his service record supports that. He simply went along with the flow.

 

One thing that I did note was that he was not a member of the conspiracy to bring down Cowan and separate Army aviation from the Signal Corps. My guess is that he supported the goal of separation, but didn’t want to get involved in the plot. His friendship with Taliaferro, which was very real, probably put him in the separationists’ camp, but not as an active member.

 

The primary source for this information is RG94, Records of the Adjutant General, 1880-1917, NARA, College Park. Dwight (drmessimer)

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Paul: You’re absolutely right that the Army viewed flying as “just another skill.” But the indifferent attitude toward aviation was less a matter of indifference that it was a matter of the stifling effect the Signal Corps had on developing a comprehensive battlefield role for aircraft. The priorities for the modernization of the Army that was on-going at the time, based as they were in tradition, also relegated aviation to a lower priority. And aviation, as it was in the US Army under the Signal Corps, hardly warranted a higher priority.

I could not disagree more with your view that aviation was fortunate to have leaders like Allen, Scriven, and Squire. Those men were Signal Corps officers for whom aviation was merely an adjunct to the Signal Corps communications mission. They lacked vision, as evidenced in the August 1913 House Hearings. That’s why they focused on observation and artillery fire control as the lone mission for aviation, ignoring or rejecting all other roles. And those were the so-called leaders who tolerated the dictatorial methods of Arthur Cowan and Samuel Reber that resulted in the pilot’s revolt and led to the Goodier court martial in October and November 1915.

Chandler and Lahm wrote a fluff piece that hardly reflects the real situation during 1908-1914, and the Air Force historians, Juliette A. Hennessy and Stephen Tillman have perpetuated the myth of progressive development and happy aviators. For an inside look into Army aviation from 1909 to 1915, read the Goodier trial transcript, with particular attention to the Cowan-Reber correspondence. No wonder Army aviation was not prepared for WWI. Dwight (drmessimer)

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I found some additional information on Carberry that might fill in some of the missing pieces. The time line immediately below is reproduced in the same format that I found in the orginal publication. The sequence and dates in the time line pretty well follow the sequence and dates that I found in the AG files, but they aren't always exactly the same. Based on the information below, my date for his departure to France, 30 July 1917, is wrong, and the actual date had to be sometime in either March or April 1917. That might be because the Register is a general summary rather than a precise record. Neverthe less, it's considered accurate. As for the error in the AG files, I can't offer an explanation other than a bureaucratic fumble during a very busy time.

 

Biographical Register of Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Acadamy, Supplement, Vol. 2, 1910-1920

 

4898 (Born Wis.) Joseph E. Carberry (Apptd. Wis.)

Joseph Eugene Carberry born 20 July 1887

Military History:

(Second lieutenant 6th Infantry 15 June 1910)

In the Philippines with regiment November 1910 to June 1912; At Presidio of San Francisco with regiment July 1912 to 1 March 1913; detailed to aviation duty 15 March 1913; at San Diego Signal Corps Aviation School March 1913 to

(Military Aviator 25 September 1913) April 1914; (At Hammondsport, NY for duty with Curtiss Aeroplane Company , November 1913); at Galveston, Texas with 1st Aero Squadron April to July 1914 (Junior Military Aviator 23 July 1914) at San Diego July 1915 to January 1915; at Buffalo, NY on duty with Curtiss Aeroplane Company January to June 1915; at San Diego June-July 1915; at Fort Sill, Oklahoma with 1st Aero Squadron July to November 1915; at San Antonio, Texas November 1915 to March 1916; in Mexico with the Mexican Punitive Expedition March to June 1916; at Aviation School, Mineola, L.I. June 1916 (1st Lieutenant Infantry 1 July 1916) March 1917; in France woth the American Embassy and American Expeditionary Force April 1917 (Captain of Infantry 15 May 1917) (Military Aviator 19 July 1917) (Lt. Colonel Temporary 5 August 1917) 1 May 1918 at Washington DC in General Staff Division of Military Aeronautics, Air Service June 1918 to –

 

There is one reference to Carberry in Volume II of the 4-volume U.S. Air Service in World War I. In that reference he is described as a captain who is a member of a board established in Paris on 19 June 1917 to make recommendations to General Pershing on “various aviation matters.” According to that source, Carberry had arrived in France shortly before being assigned to the board, and was in France “for flight training.”

 

There are two references in Rebecca Cameron’s Learning to Fly: Military Flight Training, 1907-1945, published by the GPO in 1999 as part of the Air Force History and Museum Program. In one reference she describes him as “Lt. Col. J. E. Carberry, Chief of Heavier than Air,” at a time when he is obviously in Washington, DC. Her source was, Memo, Lt. Col. J.E. Carberry, Chief of Heavier than Air to Chief, Tng., 30 June 1918, Subject: Report of the Heavier than Air Branch for the period 20-30 June 1918, RG18, NARA.

 

The second reference clearly refers to his duty in France in November 1917, and here is rank is given as major. Her source was Memo, Dir. Air Svc. Instr. To Chief of Tng. Sec., Gen. Staff (thru Chief of Air Svc), 15 November 1917, Subj: School program for aviation tng. RG18, NARA. The source she cited doesn't mention his rank at the time he wrote the memo, so I don't know how she came up with major. Dwight (drmessimer)

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I could not disagree more with your view that aviation was fortunate to have leaders like Allen, Scriven, and Squire. Those men were Signal Corps officers for whom aviation was merely an adjunct to the Signal Corps communications mission. They lacked vision, as evidenced in the August 1913 House Hearings. That’s why they focused on observation and artillery fire control as the lone mission for aviation, ignoring or rejecting all other roles. And those were the so-called leaders who tolerated the dictatorial methods of Arthur Cowan and Samuel Reber that resulted in the pilot’s revolt and led to the Goodier court martial in October and November 1915.

Dwight (drmessimer)

Dwight: My comment in support of the 3-CSO’s (Allen, Scriven, Squire) has more to do with the quality of the men rather than whatever direct influence they might have exercised in advancing aviation technology. Unless I’ve incorrectly interpreted some of the descriptions I’ve read about each of them, or unless the descriptions themselves are deceptive, then I’ve found no indication that any of them worked directly against the interests of aviation or were anything but highly credible officers. That’s much different than my impressions of Cowan and Reber, both of whom I agree were harmful to the development of early aviation.

 

Dr. Johnson”s 1982 article suggests to me that the Army brass was giving credible thought to various potential applications of air power, but also seems to suggest what one would expect to find in a bureaucratic organization; that being, things will never move as quickly as the younger members of the organization would wish.

 

I think the stifling effect and lack of vision of the CSO’s was no doubt real and could most likely be found in the senior management of almost any large organization. It strikes me that 1913 was too early for a senior officer to extend himself much beyond the near horizon, given the miserable state of aircraft development at that time. While they might have lacked vision, it seems to me just as likely that they did not lack a keen sense of self preservation in the political arena where they also had to operate.

 

The pilots’ revolt would seem reasonable to me, at least from their perspective. They were the ones being killed on a fairly regular basis in the flimsy machines, hampered by a weak level of support, even skullduggery on the part of Cowan, Patterson, Reber et. al.

 

Do you have a digital copy of the Cowan-Reber correspondence you could send me?

 

PS

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Dwight: My comment in support of the 3-CSO’s (Allen, Scriven, Squire) has more to do with the quality of the men rather than whatever direct influence they might have exercised in advancing aviation technology. Unless I’ve incorrectly interpreted some of the descriptions I’ve read about each of them, or unless the descriptions themselves are deceptive, then I’ve found no indication that any of them worked directly against the interests of aviation or were anything but highly credible officers. That’s much different than my impressions of Cowan and Reber, both of whom I agree were harmful to the development of early aviation.

 

Dr. Johnson”s 1982 article suggests to me that the Army brass was giving credible thought to various potential applications of air power, but also seems to suggest what one would expect to find in a bureaucratic organization; that being, things will never move as quickly as the younger members of the organization would wish.

 

I think the stifling effect and lack of vision of the CSO’s was no doubt real and could most likely be found in the senior management of almost any large organization. It strikes me that 1913 was too early for a senior officer to extend himself much beyond the near horizon, given the miserable state of aircraft development at that time. While they might have lacked vision, it seems to me just as likely that they did not lack a keen sense of self preservation in the political arena where they also had to operate.

 

The pilots’ revolt would seem reasonable to me, at least from their perspective. They were the ones being killed on a fairly regular basis in the flimsy machines, hampered by a weak level of support, even skullduggery on the part of Cowan, Patterson, Reber et. al.

 

Do you have a digital copy of the Cowan-Reber correspondence you could send me?

 

PS

 

Paul: In the the sense that they were good Signal Corps administrators and competent Signal Corps officers, you're correct, but Allen and Scriven, less so Squire, never saw aviation as anything but an adjunct piece of Signal Corps equipment. Any advances in aviation technology and its military use had to come through them, and under their control none of that happened prior to WWI. During the 1913 Congressional hearings on HR5304, Scriven told the committee that there was no need for an expensive development program because if and when the need for combat aircraft arose, we could simply adopt what the Europeans had already developed. In other words, he wanted to let the Europeans spend the money to develop military aviation and then just buy what was needed off the shelf. Even while the war was ongoing. 1914-1916, Scriven steadfastly refused to authorize a comprehensive examination and development of aerial weapons. Amazingly, even radio for aircraft was not a priority program in the Signal Corps. I agree with you that they did not work against aviation, they simply didn't advance it. Probably the best example of that is to compare any of the standard military airplanes flying in France in January 1917 with the most advanced design bought by the Army at that same time. And as for Scriven's claim that we could buy what we needed from the Europeans when the need arose, that didn't happen either.

 

You're also correct that until 1914 the Army's institutional mindset was not really forward looking, and the chiefs of the various branches were more interested in protecting their own turfs than in promoting the development of a new, untried, and expensive arm. And you're correct that the continued purchase of unsafe, poorly made airplanes that killed and injured so many pilots was an issue among the pilots. But the primary cause of the pilots' revolt in 1915 was the lack of any effort to develop the airplane's full potential as a weapon. The first signs of that appeared in 1912 when Paul Beck published his article on the potential battlefield roles for airplanes, and came into the open during the 1913 Congressional hearings. Unfortunately for the pilots, the 1913 attempt at separating aviation from the Signal Corps was premature and misdirected, which allowed Scriven to muster the Signal Corps big guns, including Billy Mitchell, to defeat HR5304 in its original form. But with the outbreak of WWI in Europe, it became increasingly clear to the pilots that the only way aviation could be fully developed was to achieve separation. Their plan to bring Cowan to trial was a ploy intended to make public the Signal Corps' mismanagement of aviation. The plan backfired and Goodier went on trial, but the outcome, though delayed for three years, was what they wanted; separation of aviation from the Signal Corps

 

I no longer have a copy of the Goodier trial transcript, which is where the Reber-Cowan correspondence is found as Exhibits. When I left San Jose State University in 2002, I gave all my research files to other researchers. However, the trial transcript is available from NARA. It's kept in the Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army) and is available for purchase as a hard copy. I've never seen a microfilm copy, but there might be one available now. In the meantime, I'll contact the fellow to whom I gave the trial transcript, and ask him to send me copies of the correspondence if he still has them. Dwight

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Cliff,

That's a beautiful portrait of Col. Lahm. There is another portrait in circulation from this same portrait sitting but this one is so much sharper. His MA badge is clearly defined in this wonderful portrait.

 

It's interesting to put it together with the much older picture below where he was a pictured as a colonel in both, but chose to wear the original badge in his later life portrait.

 

PS

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Re: Post #123

I think this is the 6th installment of RG94 information on some of the MAs:

 

(Major) Samuel P. McLeary

.

 

Dwight and Paul,

 

Re: Post 123

 

For the benefit of future historians who might be interested in doing some continuing research on Major Samuel P. McLeary based on Dwight's fine work.

 

With a few minor corrections highlighted, here is some additional information concerning his unfortunate death and the two men who committed the crime.

_________________________________________

 

On July 1, 1924, driving a five passenger Dodge automobile, Major McLeary left Fort Monroe, Norfolk, Virginia for his new assignment at Fort Moultrie, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina (not Ft. Moultrie, Indiana). His wife, Louise Lipscomb McLeary (married 1913), would follow later.

 

On the morning of July 2, 1924, between Raleigh, North Carolina and Sanford, North Carolina, he was stopped by two men, Mortimer H. King and his brother-in-law Frank Harrell (not July Harold), who asked for a lift. The Major agreed. Reaching Rockingham, North Carolina shortly before noon, McLeary kindly bought the two men lunch, and King mailed a letter to his wife at the post office. The party then continued southward. Around 2 PM, approximately 11 1/2 miles south of Cheraw, South Carolina, the trip turned ugly when King and Harrell ordered McLeary to pull over to the side of the road to rob him and steal the car. They then ordered McLeary out of the car and King shot him twice in the head. The two men then dragged the body and dumped it in some bushes about 200 feet away from the road.

 

When the Major failed to arrive at Ft. Moultrie the authorities were notified. A few days later his car was found in Canton, North Carolina, just west of Asheville, North Carolina. King lived near where the car was found and was arrested. Harrell was captured in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

King led authorities to the scene of the crime but only a few remains and the skull of Major McLeary were found. Burial was in Arlington, National Cemetery.

 

In September, 1924, the trial for King and Harrell took place in Chester, South Carolina. Both men were found guilty and on December 5, 1924, they were electrocuted at State Prison, Columbia, South Carolina.

 

His father died in January 1914, necessitating an extended leave to be with his family in Porto Rico.

His father, Judge James H. McLeary, left Puerto Rico in November 1913 because of ill health. He died on January 5, 1914 at Walter Read Hospital, and is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Judge James H. McLeary:

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Cliff,

That's a beautiful portrait of Col. Lahm. There is another portrait in circulation from this same portrait sitting but this one is so much sharper. His MA badge is clearly defined in this wonderful portrait.

 

It's interesting to put it together with the much older picture below where he was a pictured as a colonel in both, but chose to wear the original badge in his later life portrait.

 

PS

 

To All-

 

Speaking of Col. Lahm, the earlier portrait was taken by O.G. Williams of the 3rd Photo Section, AEF. You can read more on the photographer here:

 

O.G.Williams Collection

 

Some of you will recognize the name from that thread I started entitled "Jackpot! Huge ID'd Grouping..."

 

I'm certain it was Williams who took this seated portrait because he made a notation of it in the 2nd Army Air Service yearbook which came in the above collection (see link). You can catch a glimpse of this yearbook in one of the first pics I posted in that thread.

 

-Chuck

WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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