William Billy Mitchell: A Prominent Figure Of American Aviation Essay

William Billy Mitchell: A Prominent Figure Of American Aviation Essay

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William Billy Mitchell was an important figure to the United States because of his persistent support of military aircraft
. In fact, he insisted that the U.S. army provide a separate division dedicated specifically to aircraft
, which would later become the U.S. Air Force. However, planes were mostly contraptions made of wood, wire, and cloth (Waller 3). Given that airplanes were small and weak at his time, Mitchell's ideas were both doubted and rejected. Mitchell was often impatient and rude to his superiors seeing that the majority was ignorant in becoming aware of air power. William Billy Mitchell, a controversial military U.S. General, valued the importance and necessity of aviation, which influenced the U.S. Army to later make a separate division for airplanes called the U.S. Air Force.
Mitchell's whole career was related to the military. He first started off by being recruited as a private during the Spanish-American War in 1898 at the age of 18. Later on, he served in Cuba and the Philippines in the Army Signal Corps. He then advanced to the rank of a Captain at the age of 32 in Washington. Mitchell was promoted to the rank of a Major four years later and began to believe aviation was the future of the military. He was 36 years old in the winter of 1915 when he enrolled in the flying school of the Curtis Company (Levine 86). A year later, World War I began, so Billy Mitchell was assigned as a Lieutenant Colonel to fight in it. Because he was victorious at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, where he managed about 1,500 planes to support the American ground forces, he proceeded to Brigadier General. When he returned to the United States on February 17, 1919, he was an American hero. In eleven days, he became employed to Assistant...


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...he military. His lasting impression deals with laying a foundation for the U.S. Air Force. Mitchell not encouraged and supported the use aviation, but he proved aerial bombing advantages over naval forces by his experiment which sank a costly naval battleship. He also saw Japan as a serious threat, which would be evident in both World War II and the attack of Pearl Harbor. Most people during his time may have considered him of embracing radical ideas, but later generations may recognize him as an admirable hard worker, devoted to a critical reform in the military. The United States now honors him for his efforts and determination into persuading the U.S. on how important an air force is. In 1946, President Harry Truman signed legislation giving Mitchell a medal in "recognition of outstanding pioneering service and foresight in the files of American aviation" (Glines).

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