Mitchell, William

  • Born in Nice, France in 1879, grew up in Milwaukee.
  • Became the youngest captain in the army at age 23.
  • Became the youngest officer ever assigned to the General Staff of the War Department in Washington at age 32.
  • Eddie R. Richenbacker, one of his proteges became in Ace in May of 1918.
  • Was a visonary and a prophet but was doomed by a whole bunch of closed-minded and corrupted officials all the way up to the Presidency including that of Harding, Coolidge and others.
  • He was always concerned about the safety of his men stating: "Brave airmen are being sent to their deaths by armchair Admirals who don't care about air safety." For charging those officials responsible with "Incomptence, criminal negligence, and almost treasonable administration of the national defense" he was court-martialed for insubordination. Needless to say it was a kangaroo-court and he lost. But he was sincere in his beliefs and was one of those who stood for what they knew was right.

He died in 1936 at "Boxwood" his Virginia home, disappointed but an undefeated prophet of airpower. His vision of the future came true with tragic accuracy.

  • In 1920 he said "German militarism endangers the world".
  • In 1917 he had predicted "The British Isles will some day be vulnerable to mass aerial attack."
  • In 1919 he told General Pershing, "Airborne Armies can be dropped behind enemy lines with devastating effect."
  • In 1925 he warned "Japan may unleash a war in the Pacific. She could attack America by striking first at Hawaii, some fine Sunday morning." "Our future in this country," he said, "depends upon Airpower."
  • In 1930 he said "In their lifetime my children will see aviation become the greatest means of national defense and transportation all over the world and possibly beyond the world into interstellar space".

Source: National Aviation Hall of Fame.


See also Mitchell's Letter of Dec. 5, 1934 to Vincent Burnelli
See also Mitchell's Letter of Jan 7, 1936 to Vincent Burnelli
and / or get PDF file of both letters

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