|A member of one of Milwaukee's most prominent families, Billy Mitchell, was probably the first person with ties to Wisconsin to see the Wrights' plane fly. In 1908, as a young Signal Corps officer, Mitchell observed Orville Wright's flying demonstration at Fort Myer, Virginia. It was a transforming experience for Mitchell that contributed to his emergence as a prophet of air power.
This photograph is thought to have been taken about 1916 when Mitchell took flight instruction at the Curtiss Aviation School at Newport News, Virginia. Curiously, one of Mitchell's flight instructors was Walter Lees, an aviator from Mazomanie, Wisconsin.