Billy Mitchell

United States Army WWI general (1879–1936) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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William Lendrum Mitchell (December 29, 1879 – February 19, 1936) was a United States Army officer who is regarded as the father of the United States Air Force.[1][2]

Quick facts: Billy Mitchell, Birth name, Born, Died, Burie...
Billy Mitchell
Then-Brigadier General William L. Mitchell
Birth nameWilliam Lendrum Mitchell
Born(1879-12-29)December 29, 1879
Nice, France
DiedFebruary 19, 1936(1936-02-19) (aged 56)
New York City, U.S.
AllegianceFlag_of_the_United_States_%281896%E2%80%931908%29.svg United States
Years of service1898–1926
RankColonel (Permanent)
Brigadier General (Temporary)
Commands heldAir Service, Third Army – AEF
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal
Congressional Gold Medal (posthumous)

Mitchell served in France during World War I and, by the conflict's end, commanded all American air combat units in that country. After the war, he was appointed deputy director of the Air Service and began advocating for increased investment in air power, believing that this would prove vital in future wars. He argued particularly for the ability of bombers to sink battleships and organized a series of bombing runs against stationary ships designed to test the idea.

He antagonized many administrative leaders of the Army with his arguments and criticism and in 1925, his temporary appointment as a brigadier general was not renewed, and he reverted to his permanent rank of colonel, due to his insubordination. Later that year, he was court-martialed for insubordination after accusing Army and Navy leaders of an "almost treasonable administration of the national defense"[3] for investing in warships. He resigned from the service shortly afterwards.

Mitchell received many honors following his death, including a Congressional Gold Medal. He is also the first person for whom an American military aircraft design, the North American B-25 Mitchell, is named. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also named after Mitchell.