Name

Billy Mitchell

Career

Navy

Region

The World

Era

Maritime Nation To 1950 (1921-1950)

Born

1879

Died

1936

Text

Text Army officer� In 1898 Mitchell served in the infantry as a private during the Spanish-American War and later received a commission in the Signal Corps as a second lieutenant. During his tenure in the Signal Corps, he served in Cuba, the Philippines, and Alaska. While in Alaska from 1901 to 1903, Mitchell and the Signal Corps helped end Alaska's isolation by laying a seventeen-hundred-mile telegraph line�Mitchell was assigned to the aviation section of the Signal Corps in 1915 and soon became one of the outstanding combat air commanders of World War I. At the battle of Saint-Mihiel in September 1918, he commanded a French-U.S. air armada of some fifteen hundred airplanes, the largest concentration of allied air power during the war. By striking first, he quickly gained air superiority over a German air force of 243 planes. In the Meuse-Argonne campaign the same year, Mitchell deployed as many as two hundred airplanes in bombing formations to strike and soften enemy positions for allied ground attacks. In recognition of his service during the war, he received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal, in addition to the Croix de Guerre and other foreign honors.