Cart 0

John T. Reed’s review of A Question of Loyalty by Douglas Waller

Posted by John Reed on

The 2004 book A Question of Loyalty by Douglas Waller is a biography of Army Air Corps General Billy Mitchell. The book focuses on the 1925 “Court Martial of the Century” which found Mitchell guilty and indirectly forced him out of the Army. This is not a traditional book review. Rather, it is discussed as it relates to the other military articles here at my Web site.

Mitchell is a hero of mine

Mitchell is a hero of mine. I often refer to him in Web articles on moral courage, or the lack thereof, in the U.S. military. Mitchell risked, and lost, his military career, which had been extremely successful because he believed the military and the government were not responding adequately to advent of military air power.

Here is a list of Web articles in which I have mentioned Billy Mitchell:

• John T. Reed's comments on Lt. Col. Paul Yingling’s essay ‘A Failure in Generalship’
The U.S. military gives no medals for moral courage by John T. Reed
John T. Reed Comments on Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife by John A. Nagl
John T. Reed’s review of David Hackworth’s book About Face
U.S. military personnel who died to impress V.I.P.s by John T. Reed
Is military integrity a contradiction in terms? by John T. Reed
Did U.S. military personnel really earn all their medals? by John T. Reed
The Army tries to get away with yet another whitewash of Pat Tillman’s death by John T. Reed
Secretary of Defense Gates’ comments on military integrity and careerism
Are U.S. Navy surface ships sitting ducks to enemies with modern weapons?
Comments on Scott Snook’s ‘Be, Know, Do’ article by John T. Reed
John T. Reed’s review of We Were One by Patrick K. O’Donnell
Should you go to, or stay at, West Point? by John T. Reed

I was drawn to Mitchell the man because I had a similar, although lower-key, experience during my brief time in the Army. When I was researching how to defend myself in an administrative hearing, I kept coming across references to Mitchell’s court martial.


To make a long story short, both Mitchell and I were extremely outspoken about systematic misbehavior by the Army. In my case it was what I call O.P.U.M. and O.V.U.M. In Mitchell’s case, it was suppression or neglect of air power with O.P.U.M. and O.V.UM. playing supporting roles. Both Mitchell and I were told to shut up and “play the game.” Both Mitchell and I refused. Both Mitchell and I were honorably discharged, but in a “You’re fired” format.

Mitchell wanted to stay in the Army. I wanted to leave when my five-year commitment resulting from graduating from West Point expired. (Mitchell was not a West Point graduate.) I gave seven years notice of my resignation. Ultimately, they said six years was enough notice in a, “You can’t quit; you’re fired!” sense. Mitchell saw being court martialed as his best opportunity to make his case for air power to the American people. He was an agitator. I was a refusenik, that is, I refused to go along to get along. One big difference was that Mitchell sought out and used the press big time; I declined the press’s request for an interview when I was an officer.

Refusing to go along is disloyalty

The title—A Question of Loyalty—was an accusation that both Mitchell and I had hurled at us. The phrase used toward me was, “I question your loyalty to the battalion.” (“Loyalty to the battalion” refers to the “royal battalion” like the “royal we.” What the colonel really meant was he questioned my loyalty to him.) To see my attitude about loyalty, see my article on that subject in the football coaching section of my Web site. On page 22, Waller says,

Mitchell always believed he owed allegiance to a higher cause—making the nation secure with air power.

Mitchell was exactly right about that. My position was the same with regard to integrity and dignity being higher allegiances than pleasing my superiors. But if a superior in the military thinks you feel greater loyalty to making the nation secure or integrity than to helping him advance his career, you are toast. I mean that precisely, no hyperbole.

Mitchell called his military superiors “professional office holders.” I agree. They “serve” their own interests first and the nation”s interests only when it does not interfere with their interests.

Jamie Dimon’s take on loyalty
Jamie Dimon is CEO of JPMorgan Chase. He is one of a small number of persons in my list of national treasures whom we do not appreciate enough. In a March 26, 2010 letter to his shareholders Dimon said this about loyalty:

While I deeply believe in loyalty, it often is misused. Loyalty should be to the principles for which someone wtands and to the institution: Loyalty to an individual frequently is another form of cronyism Leaders demand a lot from their employees and should be loyal t them—but loyalty and mutual respet are two-way streets.

Books and movie

The existence of A Question of Loyalty came to my attention when I saw the author given an hour-long presentation about it on C-Span. I ordered it from my local Barnes & Noble Store and it only cost $4.98 for a new copy.

There was a movie called The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell. But according to author Waller, it is the most inaccurate documentary of all time. I surmise it gets the basic idea correct, that the old guard in the Army and Navy were guilty of what Mitchell said and they were trying to dishonestly suppress and discredit his revelations and discourage any other Air Corps officers from saying similar things. Apparently, though, the movie cared not at all about accuracy with regard to the details.

Biography, but focused on the court martial

Although Waller’s book is a biography in that it covers Mitchell’s life from conception to death and thereafter, all the chapters that are not about the court martial are in the perspective of prelude to the court martial or the aftermath of the court martial.

Both Mitchell and I were put into do-nothing jobs, sometimes as punishment. I recently read a book about the West Point Class of 2002 (In a Time of War) in which those young West Pointers were also put in do-nothing jobs for various reasons. In all three eras, the Army was complaining it did not have enough officers while “using” us in do-nothing jobs.

Turn of the century aviation

To understand Mitchell, you need to understand the era in which he was an adult. He came of age at the turn of the century. He was a hot shot officer in the Signal Corps, same branch as I coincidentally. Signal Corps is the Army’s phrase for communications because it was originally done with signal flags. The airplane was invented by the Wright brothers on 12/17/03. The Army initially assigned airplanes to the signal corps.

Mitchell became interested in airplanes in 1908. The Army refused to train him to fly because they said he was too old. So he paid out of his own pocket for flying lessons and became one of the oldest pilots in the Army as a result in 1916. This resulted in his being the highest ranking officer in the Army who knew how to fly a plane. World War I began in 1917 for the U.S. Mitchell was sent to the war as the commander of all U.S. air operations. He was very successful, not as a fighter ace, which was not his job, but as the overall air commander. He won the DSC, which is the second highest bravery award. He was the most famous American in Europe when the war ended. He was one of the most famous military pilots in the U.S. up there with Eddie Rickenbacker, the Ace of Aces. The public worldwide was enthralled with the new technology of manned flight. Charles Lindbergh did not make his epic solo flight across the Atlantic until 1927, two years after Mitchell’s trial.

During Mitchell’s time, there were still two types of manned flight: heavier than air and lighter than air. The latter referring to zeppelins, dirigibles, and blimps.

Two Navy air debacles

Indeed, the event that precipitated Mitchell’s court martial more than any other—perhaps the anvil that broke the camel’s back—was the 1925 crash of the U.S.S. Shenandoah, a U.S. Navy dirigible. Mitchell was not a zeppelin pilot, but he knew enough about flight to recognize that the Shenandoah crash, which killed 14 sailors, was caused by Navy stupidity motivated by a desire to impress V.I.P. and voters. (See my article on U.S. military personnel dying so the brass can advance their careers by impressing V.I.P.s.) Also, the U.S. Navy has long waged a scandalously extreme and dysfunctional war against encroachment on its turf or imagined encroachments on its turf or budget against the other services. Mitchell also felt that the Navy was motivated in part by trying to keep the Army from outshining the Navy in air power and rushed the Shenandoah flight to keep the Army from appearing to be more deserving of military air power dollars than the Army.

Around the same time, the Navy also did another publicity stunt in which they sent two seaplanes from California to Hawaii. Both ended up in the ocean and had to be rescued. Again, Mitchell felt the Navy had rushed the flight before it was ready for P.R. and sibling-rivalry reasons.

One of the Navy’s inept notions about air power was to assign sailors to the aviation department for one to three years then send them back to the fleet (ships). In other words, they treated being a pilot as if it were comparable to teaching in a Navy school or working in the Pentagon for a few years. Flying was considered by the Navy to be a temp job you did once in your career, not a permanent specialty. According to Waller, this problem persists today, albeit to a lesser extent, in the U.S. Navy. They are unable to get over the notion that they are in the ship-operating business.

Mitchell generally accused the Army and Navy brass of forming a sort of cartel in which they controlled competition between each other for resources. The Navy’s attitude, then and now, seems to be that they are entitled to at least half the U.S. defense resources, and they will wage bureaucratic war on the Army if the Army does not follow the cartel rules. That accusation appears to have been, and still is, accurate. That’s why the Navy has its own army (Marine Corps) and air force (naval aviators). Neither the Army nor the Air force wants their own navy. The Army has its own helicopter and small fixed-wing planes which is probably appropriate.

Critical statement

The keystone event of Mitchell’s career and the focus of his court martial was his issuance of a lengthy statement denouncing the chain of command in the Army and Navy for lack of proper support for military air power in general and specific screw-ups like the Shenandoah and the seaplanes incidents. Among other things, Mitchell said that senior officers who testified before Congress “almost always” gave “incomplete, misleading or false information about aeronautics...and that pilots were “bluffed and bulldozed so that they dare not tell the truth.”

One Army general who testified against Mitchell at the court martial said of pilots,

The difficulty I found with [them] is that they are a little too independent of the commander.

That’s how generals complain about subordinates who are insufficiently servile and sycophantic.

It must be noted that Mitchell once testified to Congress that aviation should not be removed from the Army Signal Corps and put under an independent air force. That was the opposite of his actual position. Apparently, he was young and felt he needed to play the game to advance his career, behavior he later became famous for criticizing in others.

Mitchell also wrote a book called Winged Defense which made a similar case in less incendiary terms.

Apparently, such things never change because my impression when I was in the Army and since is the same although I would state it more precisely thus,

All military officers who know what’s good for them try at all times to make their superiors look good or at least refrain from making them look bad. To do otherwise is career suicide. Whether they lie or tell the truth in Congressional testimony depends on what will make their superiors look good or bad and on the chances that they will get caught if they lie. For example, Lt. Col Oliver North, a Marine graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, became famous by lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra weapons-for-hostages scandal. (He admitted it and was convicted in court for it although the conviction was overturned on the technicality that he did not get a fair trial because of adverse publicity stemming from the Iran-Contra Congressional hearings testimony.) North graduated from Annapolis the same day I graduated from West Point, although he entered Annapolis two years before me. Two of his colleagues in the scandal, Robert MacFarlane and Admiral John Poindexter, also Annapolis graduates, also lied. MacFarlane attempted suicide.

Why do officers routinely lie?

Why did they lie—in spite of all the pretensions of service academies and their graduates to being men of high integrity? To protect their bosses up to and including President Reagan. After they got caught, MacFarlane resigned and attempted suicide and Poindexter resigned in disgrace. North became a celebrity TV star. Go figure.

Do the brass ever tell the truth when they testify before Congress? Sure, when they can do so without making a superior look bad. Just as a blind hog sometimes finds an acorn, so do Congresspersons sometimes ask questions that can be answered truthfully by military brass. Low-ranking officers who testify or otherwise provide information know they will be retaliated against if they make statements that make their superiors look bad—even slightly—so they almost never do that. They lie. North is an example of that. See my article Is military integrity a contradiction in terms?

The basic problem is the political/bureaucratic structure of the military and the government. A politician is someone who lies to get power (the biggest liar always wins) then tries to take credit for as many good things as possible and deflect blame for as many bad things as possible regardless of actual responsibility for the thing in question. Career military officers are politicians and they work for politicians.

Blank check charges

Mitchell and I were both charged with what I call “blank check” accusations. (I was not court martialed. I was administratively discharged. They could have waited eleven months until my West Point five-year commitment was up, but they had to show me and the other lieutenants who was boss or some such. Both Mitchell and I got honorable discharges.) A blank check rule is a vague one that lets the Army discharge anyone they want whenever they want without good reason.

The blank check clause levied against me was that I had a “defective attitude,” a phrase that is not defined in the Army regulations that make it a firing offense.

The blank check clause against Mitchell—Waller called it a “catchall provision for anything the Army found offensive”— was:

all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and military discipline [and] all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the military service

I disagree with Waller’s saying it was anything “the Army” found offensive. That is a common mistake—to think of the Army as some sort of giant person. The “catchall provision” is invoked against anything any of your superiors find offensive.


Mitchell was also accused of insubordination. But that needed to be judged according to the competing loyalties of pleasing superiors (subordination) and securing the national defense. I believe that obeying stupid orders is immoral. Values like duty, honor, and country, the motto of West Point, trump insubordination when they conflict. Indeed, when they conflict, which was all the time in my experience, it is the superior who needs to be court martialed for placing the advancement of his own career above duty, honor, and country.

I was also accused of some other stuff like “failure to keep pace with contemporaries” and “unwillingness to expend effort.” Failure to keep pace meant my West Point classmates were almost all promoted to captain on the second anniversary of our graduation. I was never promoted to captain because I was constantly at odds with my superiors. How I was supposed to disprove that I had not been promoted to captain was and remains a mystery to me. If that is grounds for a discharge, why not discharge the guy the day after his contemporaries get promoted and he doesn’t? I would think they would need to consider it only if the reasons for the non-promotion were proper ones. The main reason I was not promoted it seemed to me was my refusal to attend mandatory “command performance” after-hours parties with superiors and my refusal to join the officers clubs and comply with oter O.V.U.M.. Those are not proper reasons to stop an officer’s promotion.

They acknowledged some effort

With regard to “unwillingness to expend effort, the brigadier general and two full colonels who sat in judgment of me said I had indeed, disproven the accusation that I had been unwilling to expend effort. Damned nice of them when you consider I was a West Point graduate, airborne, ranger and they were all none of the above. I had also volunteered for the 82nd Airborne Division, Vietnam, the II Field Force Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol unit (D Company 75th Rangers), and the Green Berets (5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam). The general and two colonels apparently never did any of that either, other than possibly volunteering to serve in Vietnam.

I do not recall any evidence in the hearing about my attitude. That would have required the Army to define it. They had no idea what it meant either. About the only meaningful comment I found anywhere about attitude came from the late legendary management guru Peter Drucker who said,

An employer has no business with a man’s personality. It is immoral as well as an illegal intrusion of privacy. It is abuse of power. An employee owes no ‘loyalty,’ he owes no ‘love’ and no ‘attitudes’—he ows performance and nothing else.

Amen, but hell will freeze over before bureaucrat bosses, military or corporate, ever relinquish their ever-present demand that their subordinates do everything in their power to make their superiors like them.

The evidence against me was more or less superiors saying they agreed I should be fired. My peers and subordinates testified that I did a good job.

In the Mitchell trial, the defense repeatedly asked officers testifying for examples of where good order or discipline had broken down in the Army as a result of Mitchell. No one could think of any. Mitchell’s defense also asked for evidence that Mitchell had discredited military service rather than discredited specific high-ranking position holders. Again, the Army had trouble convincing anyone that a much decorated, combat veteran, career major general had a low opinion of military service.

‘Can’t wait to throw it away’

My sense in my hearing was that I lost 2-1. The infantry colonel seemed to be on my side. The signal corps colonel seemed to hate my guts for being a West Pointer who wanted to get out of the Army. When my lawyer took the papers for his signature after the decision, he said, “My son’s an Army helicopter pilot. He’s trying to get a Regular Army commission so he doesn’t get RIFed after the war ends, but he probably won’t get it. Reed had a regular Army commission handed to him on a silver platter at West Point and he can’t wait to throw it away.”

The general at the hearing seemed to be on my side initially, then seemed to conclude that it’s OK to complain about things wrong with the Army only if you try to fix them, but since I never did that, I needed to go. That’s a nice Poor Richard’s Almanack-style aphorism, however, every damned counseling session I got from a lieutenant colonel or colonel started with the words, “Lieutenant Reed, You can’t change the Army.” (See my Web article on military integrity which contains the standard U.S. Army counseling session that I got hit with again and again all over the Army.) Those counseling sessions also all included this line:

You have to bide your time. You have to play the game until you reach high enough rank that you have the power to change things.

The Army brass need to get their story straight. Either you can change the Army by using your authority as first lieutenant, assistant platoon leader to do so, and you will be fired from the Army if you fail to try to change the Army from day one, or you can’t change the Army, at least not until you achieve high enough position to do so and high enough position ain’t first lieutenant, assistant platoon leader. The latter is obviously the correct version, notwithstanding the general’s affection for the rhetorical symmetry of his “can’t complain unless you try to fix” platitude.

Similarly, in the Mitchell trial, the generals on the jury seemed to behave as if the question at hand was, “Should Mitchell get away with bad-mouthing superiors like us?” They were supposed to be deciding whether he violated the 96th Article of War.

Make up their own criteria

One of the problems with unconstitutionally-vague charges like “defective attitude” or “disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and military discipline” is that they are so vague that the jurors or board members unconsciously create their own extralegal charges then measure their feelings, not the evidence, by that illegal standard to make their decision. Like, would I want this officer as my subordinate? (I probably would have fared better if they had ask themselves, “Would I want this officer as my commander?” but since I was only a first lieutenant, that would not occur to them.)

Essentially a libel case

The Mitchell court martial was essentially a libel case claiming that Mitchell had libeled some of his superiors. I am not sure the military has a libel cause of action or did in 1925. Libel cases turn on whether the speaker got it more or less right. Although Mitchell overstated his case in some minor respects, his basic charges were generally accurate. The evidence offered by the government against Mitchell was mostly intellectually-dishonest, public-relations spin. Indeed, Mitchell’s lawyer read into the record remarks by then Commander-in-Chief President Calvin Coolidge at Annapolis that officers “are given the fullest latitude in expressing their views before their fellow citizens.”

The military judge did a lousy job. Had he done his job correctly, the government would have had most of its evidence excluded as irrelevant. Mitchell would have been proven wrong in some particulars, but generally libel law does not require a perfect 100% score on accuracy in a long publication. Rather, you only have to get the gist of the story right. (I am a journalist and I have been sued and defended myself once against a libel charge. My case was sort of settled, then the judge dismissed it with prejudice, which means it cannot be brought again.) Mitchell got the gist right.

Conflict of interest

There is also the ridiculous conflict of interest in having charges brought by the Commander in Chief or the Chief of Staff of the Army then having a dozen generals who hope to be promoted in the future by that same person at as impartial jurors in the trial. Suffice it to say that the generals in question brought back the verdict the president and other top brass wanted, and implied when they filed the charges to begin with.

Moral courage by Mitchell’s colleagues

On the other hand, I most note the behavior of Mitchell’s subordinates, and some of his peers and superiors. I have often said Mitchell appears to be the only career Army officer in history who exhibited moral courage. In A Question of Loyalty, I learned that a bunch of officers testified honestly or enthusiastically on his behalf, thereby risking their own careers as well. Furthermore, it should be noted that they seemed not to suffer as a result of doing so. Indeed, a number of them became top generals in spite of siding with Mitchell during the court martial. They include:

Tooey Spaatz, West Point Class of 1914 World War I pilot, general in World War II, first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force
Hap Arnold, West Point Class of 1907, World War I pilot, taught how to fly by the Wright brothers, five-star general (only one ever in USAF) in World War II, described as an “acolyte” and “protege” of Billy Mitchell
Jimmy Doolittle, led the Doolittle raid over Tokyo early in World War II and won the Congressional Medal of Honor, developed instrument flying, aviation pioneer, retired as Lieutenant General
Mason Patrick, West Point Class of 1886, Head of U.S. Army Air Service during and after World War I, Mitchell’s immediate boss

Unique situation

I must add, however, that I do not think the career success of these guys after they testified on behalf of Mitchell was due to the Army being an honest meritocracy. Rather, it was a unique situation. Aviation was in a period of rapid growth in the 1920s. Plus, Mitchell was right. Aviation was a big deal militarily and the U.S. needed to have a separate air force. But the U.S. military ignored Mitchell. Indeed, Jimmy Doolittle said Mitchell probably delayed the U.S. military doing the right thing regarding aviation because the brass was so mad at him they were not going to follow his advice no matter how wise it was.

But as World War II began in Europe before the U.S. was involved, the German Luftwaffe (air force) was decisive in their blitzkrieg tactics against Poland and France and the Royal Air Force fighter planes were decisive against Germany in the Battle of Britain. When the U.S. military belatedly had to admit, tacitly, that Mitchell had been right all along, their deliberate neglect of military aviation resulted in the pilots who testified for Mitchell being the only game in town. The brass had no choice to promote them to being heads of the vast new Army Air Corps.

No such thing as military justice

The Mitchell Court Martial is evidence that there is no such thing as military justice when the chain of command is interested in the case. If two corporals get into a fist fight and get court martialed, probably no one cares. If no one cares, the two guys will probably get decent justice. It’s like officers testifying honestly before Congress when the question is not one that might make their boss look bad. But when the brass is interested in the outcome of a military court martial, you can generally bet that the verdict will be the one implied by the brass’s apparent desire. The only way to end that would be to have the trials conducted in the civilian court system.

Fight with Navy more than Army

Mitchell’s career-long battle was more with the Navy than his own Army. He basically said the Navy was rendered obsolete by the airplane. One big fight was his claim that an airplane could easily sink a battleship, then the biggest weapon in the Navy and in the world. Aircraft carriers were then in their infancy.

The Navy said Mitchell didn’t know what he was talking about. He said give me an old obsolete battleship and let’s find out. The Navy, predictably, refused. So Mitchell took his case to Congress and the public. Ultimately, Congress ordered the Navy to stage a test of Mitchell’s claim. The Navy wrote rules to make it harder for Mitchell. To an extent, he ignored them. But it didn’t much matter. His guys easily sank the World War I German battleship SMS Ostfriesland on 7/21/21. On page 154, Waller describes the scene when the Ostfriesland sank.

On the Henderson, mouths of VIPs gaped open. No one spoke. Politicians, many of whom had staked their careers on funding the battleships, looked as if they had just witnessed a murder. Some admirals sobbed like babies.

You gotta be kidding me! I cannot imagine any analogous event that would make Army generals sob like babies. Air Force generals might sob like babies if fighter planes were replaced by unmanned aircraft—which appears to be happening. The U.S. Army is about defending the nation, albeit only in “World War II in Europe” ways. The Air Force and the Navy are a bunch of overgrown boys who love their toys—to the point where they value them above what’s best for America’s defense.

Expensive jokes

Battleships were generally a joke in World War II. The four biggest ever built, Germany’s Bismarck and Tirpitz and Japan’s Yamato and Musashi were all ignominiously sunk. Bismarck after having its rudder damaged by a torpedo dropped by a biplane! Hitler thereafter would not let Tirpitz leave a seemingly safe Norwegian harbor, raising the question of why a battleship was called a battleship or even exists. The Brits sank it in the harbor.

Yamato knew it had no chance against American air power, but went on a suicide mission to attack U.S. forces. It was quickly sank before it even got close. Musashi was sunk while traveling from one base to another much too far away from any American forces to use its guns against them. Bismarck did sink some British ships, but I do not believe any of the other three ever inflicted damage on their enemies. The only damage they inflicted was on the finances of the countries that built them and on their doomed crews.

Other than beating up on third-world countries, what is the purpose of an aircraft carrier?

Battleships were replaced by aircraft carriers during World War II as the main Navy weapon—along with submarines. Nowadays, I see little purpose to an aircraft carrier other than sinking other aircraft carriers, which are not much threat to land-based forces.

Why not let the enemy aircraft carriers go wherever they want and sink them when they are about to get within the limited range at which their planes can bother us and still make it back to their ships? It seems like it would be easy to sink an aircraft carrier with a land- or air-based missile or torpedo or missile from a nuclear submarine. So common sense suggests that we should eliminate our aircraft carriers and sink the enemy’s with unmanned missiles or torpedoes in the first half hour of the next war. See my article Are U.S. Navy surface ships sitting ducks to enemies with modern weapons? The current Navy seems mainly a sort of blue water Coast Guard that is only useful for letting Navy and Marine pilots give the Navy minimal relevance in wars against third-world countries.

Billy Mitchell more or less saw that in the early 1920s.

The value of protesting publicly while in uniform

I have recommended that officers who believe something within the U.S. military is wrong should protest behind closed doors up to the top of the chain of command, then resign in protest and go public. I believe there are regulations that require that. But one might also take into account this from page 334 of A Question of Loyalty.

Mitchell was popular because he was a brave, handsome officer who was not afraid to challenge his superiors. What he had to say listened to because he dared to say it while in uniform. Once he took off his uniform, Mitchell became just another civilian with an opinion.

Amazing legacy

Mitchell was, in pertinent part, an amazing man. He foresaw, in sometimes astonishing detail, all sorts of future developments in military aviation. For example, in 1923, he did an eight-moth tour of Asia. It resulted in a 340-page classified report on the strategic ramifications of the rise of Asian countries like Japan. In the report, he predicted in great detail an attack by Japan by air at 7:30 AM on Schofield Barracks and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Eighteen years later, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese carried out an almost identical attack. Mitchell had also said that the U.S. was not prepared for such an attack, which proved to be true. The recommendations he made, that were so strenuously resisted by the U.S. military, were almost all adopted ultimately and generally later than they should have been. Mitchell is generally regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force. His Wikipedia write up lists 17 posthumous awards. Mitchell died in 1936, too early to receive any of those awards during his life and too early to see almost all of his aviation predictions come true starting in the late thirties

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omissions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.