Airienteering with 13MIKE

by Fred J. Calfior and Douglas W. Miller

AirLeg 32

It's time for an Air Warriors history lesson, because guess what? AirLeg 43 was a wolf in sheep's clothing! A composite wing filled with balsa wood! A glass of Harvey's Bristol Creme Sherry with a crack in it! Anyway…the most prominent American air combat leader of World War I was Brigadier General

Billy Mitchell. His wartime experience convinced him that air units needed to be independent of ground units so that airpower could be concentrated where it was most needed. Because of his outspokenness of the government's defense program, (which was accompanied by violent arguments and bitter condemnation of military superiors!) he was court marshaled for defiance of his superiors in 1925. Ironically, early in World War II, events confirmed many of Mitchell's predictions! So as further irony, in 1946, the United States Congress authorized the Medal of Honor for Mitchell posthumously!

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