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Term: Mitchell, William, 1879 - 1936

Definition:

son of  Sen. John L. Mitchell (q.v.) and grandson of Alexander Mitchell (q.v.); aviator, general, commonly considered the father of the U.S. Air Force; Milwaukee's Mitchell Field is named for him. An excerpt from his biography in the U.S. Air Force's Air & Space Power Journal: Chronicles Online follows:


"Billy Mitchell is the most famous and controversial figure in American airpower history. The son of a wealthy Wisconsin senator, he enlisted as a private during the Spanish American War. Quickly gaining a commission due to the intervention of his father, he joined the Signal Corps. He was an outstanding junior officer, displaying a rare degree of initiative, courage, and leadership. After challenging tours in the Philippines and Alaska, Mitchell was assigned to the General Staff - at the time its youngest member. He slowly became excited about aviation - which was then assigned to the Signal Corps - and its possibilities, and in 1916 at age 38, he took private flying lessons.


"Arriving in France in April 1917, only a few days after the United States had entered the war, Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell met extensively with British and French air leaders and studied their operations. He quickly took charge and began preparations for the American air units that were to follow. The story of American aviation mobilization in World War I was not a glorious one. It took months before pilots arrived in France and even longer for any aircraft. Nonetheless, Mitchell rapidly earned a reputation as a daring, flamboyant, and tireless leader. He eventually was elevated to the rank of brigadier general and commanded all American combat units in France. In September 1918 he planned and led nearly 1,500 allied aircraft in the air phase of the Saint Mihiel offensive. Recognized as the top American combat airman of the war (he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and several foreign decorations), Mitchell, nevertheless, managed to alienate most of his superiors - both flying and nonflying - during his 18 months in France.


"Returning to the US in early 1919, Mitchell was appointed the deputy chief of the Air Service, retaining his one-star rank. His relations with superiors continued to sour as he began to attack both the War and Navy Departments for being insufficiently farsighted regarding airpower. His fight with the Navy climaxed with the dramatic bombing tests of 1921 and 1923 that sank several battleships, proving - at least to Mitchell - that surface fleets were obsolete. Within the Army he also experienced difficulties, notably with his superiors Charles Menoher and later Mason Patrick, and in early 1925 he reverted to his permanent rank of colonel and was transferred to Texas. Although such demotions were not an unusual occurrence at the time - Patrick himself had gone from major general to colonel upon returning to the Corps of Engineers in 1919 - the move was nonetheless widely seen as punishment and exile. Not content to remain quiet, when the Navy dirigible "Shenandoah" crashed in a storm and killed 14 of the crew, Mitchell issued his famous statement accusing senior leaders in the Army and Navy of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." He was court-martialed, found guilty of insubordination, and suspended from active duty for five years without pay. Mitchell elected to resign instead as of 1 February 1926 and spent the next decade continuing to write and preach the gospel of airpower to all who would listen. The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Navy man, was viewed by Mitchell as advantageous for airpower. In fact, he believed the new president would appoint him as assistant secretary of war for air or perhaps even secretary of defense in a new and unified military organization. Such hopes never materialized. Mitchell died of a variety of ailments including a bad heart and influenza in 1936."

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the William Mitchell Correspondence for details.

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

[Source: Source: U.S. Air Force, Air & Space Power Journal Chronicles Online]

206 records found

Macalister, James 1840 - 1913
Macfayden, Alexander 1879 - 1936
Mack, John Givan Davis 1867 - 1924
MacMurray, Fred 1908 - 1991
Macquarrie, Gordon 1900 - 1956
Macy, John B. 1799 - 1856
Magnuson, Sue R. 1952
Magoon, Henry Sterling 1832 - 1889
Maier, Henry W. 1918
Main, Angie Kumlien [Mary Angela (Kumlien) Main] 1
Malhominis
Malhonmines
Manders, Adrian J. 1912
Manders, Verna M. 1920
Manel, Francis 1864 - 1928
Mangekekias
Manske, John T. 1952
Mantouechs
Manville, Charles Brayton 1834 - 1927
Mapes, David Parshall 1798 - 1890
Marchetti, Louis 1846 - 1931
Marcklein, Bernhard Gustav 1848 - 1915
Marin, Joseph, dates unverified
Marin, Paul, 1692-1753
Marinette, Queen [Marinette Chevalier Jacobs] 1793
Marks, Solon 1827 - 1914
Marlatt, Abby Lillian 1869 - 1943
Marlatt, Walter Thomas 1874 - 1925
Marotz, Robert G. 1921
Maroumine
Marquette, Jacques 1637 - 1675
Marr, Carl Von 1858 - 1936
Marsh, Cutting 1800 - 1873
Marshall, Rouget De Lisle 1847 - 1922
Marshall, Samuel 1820 - 1907
Martin, David O. 1931
Martin, Deborah Beaumont 1858 - 1931
Martin, James Baynard 1814 - 1878
Martin, Jerome A. 1908
Martin, John E. 1891
Martin, Joseph 1878 - 1946
Martin, Morgan Lewis 1805 - 1887
Mascoutins
Maskoutech
Math, Richard P. 1932
Mathews, Vincent R. 1912
Mathie, Karl 1866 - 1938
Mato, Louis V. 1903
Matty, Richard P. 1932
Maurer, Irving 1879 - 1942
Maurer, John J. 1922
Mauthe, William 1873 - 1942
Maxfield, John B. (1818-1906)
Maxon, Densmore William 1820 - 1887
Mayer, Stephan F. 1854 - 1935
Mazzuchelli, Samuel Charles 1806 - 1864
Mcarthur, Arthur 1815 - 1896
McArthur, Gen. Arthur (1845-1912)
Mccallum, Scott 1950
Mccann, James A. 1924
Mccanna, Charles B. 1851 - 1913
Mccarthy, Charles 1873 - 1921
McCarthy, Joseph, 1908 - 1957
Mccaskill, Virgil Everett 1866 - 1922
Mcclain, Edward F. 1935
McCloy, William Ashby, 1913-2000
Mccord, Myron Hawley 1840 - 1908
Mccormick, John E. 1924
Mccormick, Robert Laird 1847 - 1911
Mccormick, Terri
Mccoy, Robert Bruce 1867 - 1926
McCracken, Guy (ca. 1861 - 1931)
Mccreery, Maud [Leonard] 1883 - 1938
Mcdill, Alexander Stuart 1822 - 1875
Mcdill, John Rich 1860 - 1934
Mcdougal, Milton 1917
Mcessy, Earl F.
Mcewen, John L. 1928
Mcgavick, Alexander Joseph 1863 - 1948
Mcglachlin, Edward 1840 - 1931
Mcgovern, Francis Edward 1866 - 1946
Mcgregor, Duncan 1836 - 1921
Mcindoe, Walter Duncan 1819 - 1872
Mckay, J. Curtis 1926
McKay, William
McKee, Lt. Col. David (1828-1862)
Mckenna, Dale T. 1937
Mclenegan, Charles Edward 1858 - 1920
McMynn, John Gibson 1824 - 1900
Mcparland, Leland S. 1896
McVicar, Angus Boyd, 1903 - 1964
Mead, Daniel Webster 1862 - 1948
Meanwell, Walter Ernest 1884 - 1953
Mears, Helen Farnsworth 1872 - 1916
Meaux, Thomas W. 1954
Medinger, John Donald 1948
Meeker, Moses 1790 - 1865
Meeuwsen, Terry Anne (born 1949)
Meir, Golda, l898-1978.
Melms, Edmund [Ludwig Robert Paul) Theodore 1874 -
Melvin, Thomas T. 1937
Menard, Fr. Rene, 1605-1661
Menard, Mary Ann, early 19th c.
Menominee Indians
Menos, Gus G. 1920
Merkel, Kenneth J. 1926
Merkt, John L. 1946
Merriam, Williah R. 1894
Merrill, Sherburn Sanborn 1818 - 1885
Merriman, William Edward 1825 - 1892
Mertz, Edward F. 1890
Merz, Louis L. 1908
Meskwaki Indians
Mesquakie Indians
Messmer, Sebastian Gebhard 1847 - 1930
Metoxen, John 1770 - 1858
Metz, Sharon 1934
Meunier, Alex J. 1897
Mexicans in Wisconsin
Meyer, Balthasar Henry 1866 - 1954
Meyer, Dan 1949
Meyer, Mark 1963
Meyerhofer, Lee P. 1964
Miamis
Mielke, Janet Soergel 1937
Miller, Andrew Galbraith 1801 - 1874
Miller, Frederick 1824 - 1888
Miller, Frederick Charles 1906 - 1954
Miller, George Peckham 1858 - 1931
Miller, Jess 1884
Miller, Lucas Mitiades 1824 - 1902
Miller, Marjorie "Midge" 1922
Miller, Mark 1943
Miller, Roswell 1843 - 1913
Miller, Wesson Gage 1822 - 1893
Miller, William Snow 1858 - 1939
Mills, Charles Henry 1873 - 1937
Mills, Joseph Trotter 1811 - 1897
Mills, Simeon, 1810 - 1895
Minahan, Robert Emmet 1858 - 1935
Minahan, Victor Ivan 1881 - 1954
Minandeau, Jean Baptiste
Miner, Henry Austin 1829 - 1932
Minor, Edward Sloman 1840 - 1924
Mireau, George 1888
Missisakis
Mitchell, Alexander 1817 - 1887
Mitchell, John Lendrum 1842 - 1904
Mitchell, William, 1879 - 1936
Mittness, Lewis T. 1929
Mix, Edward Townsend 1831 - 1890
Moeller, Gustave 1881 - 1931
Moen, Rodney C. 1937
Mogilka, David R. 1915
Mohican
Mohn, Leo O. 1925
Moingwenas
Mole Lake Ojibwe
Molepske, Jr., Louis John 1974
Molinaro, George 1902
Monahan, James Gideon 1855 - 1923
Monberg, Lawrence 1900 - 1983
Montgomery, Phil 1957
Moody, Jim 1935
Moon, Delos Rensselaer 1835 - 1898
Moore, Annie Aubertine [Woodward] 1841 - 1929
Moore, Benjamin Franklin 1819 - 1904
Moore, Gwendolynne S. 1951
Moore, Ransom Asa 1861 - 1941
Moore, William (1827-1862)
Morand, first name unverified
Moravians in Wisconsin
Morehouse, Frederic Cook 1868 - 1932
Morgan, Richard Thomas 1829 - 1905
Morris, Johnnie Elaine 1951
Morris, Lucy E. Smith, 1850-1935
Morrison, Kathryn 1942
Morse, Elmer Addison 1870 - 1945
Mortimer, Mary 1816 - 1877
Morton, Earl D. 1918
Moser, William R. 1927
Mosse, George Lachmann 1918 - 1999
Moyer, Raymond J. 1926
Mueller, Alexander 1872 - 1935
Mueller, Ervin 1904
Mueller, John Gottlieb 1813 - 1893
Muir, John 1838 - 1914
Mulder, Leland E. 1925
Munh, Emanuel 1806 - 1899
Munro, Dana Carleton 1866 - 1933
Munsee Indians
Munson, Oliver Goldsmith 1856 - 1933
Munts, Mary Lou 1924
Murat, William M. 1957
Murphy, James William 1858 - 1927
Murphy, John T. 1860 - 1932
Murphy, Roger P. 1923
Murray, Eldon 1930 - 2007
Murray, Reid Fred 1887 - 1952
Murray, Thomas B. 1938
Musquakies
Musser, Terry M. 1947
Myhra, Norman L. 1925
Mylrea, William Henry 1853 - 1916
Myrick, Harry Pierce 1857 - 1916
Myrick, Nathan 1822 - 1903

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