Maj Gen Billy Mitchell


Verified Military
Sep 7, 2006

Just seen part of a doco on the man.

What a man!

He predicted in 1925 that the Japs would attack Pearl harbor with aircraft, he predicted air battles at 1,000 MPH in the stratosphere, he advocated for a separate Air Force and a unified command of all branches of the Military.


Court-martial & Later Life

When the Navy dirigible Shenandoah crashed in a storm, killing 14 of the crew, Mitchell issued a statement accusing senior leaders in the Army and Navy of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." He was court-martialed at the direct order of President Calvin Coolidge, found guilty of insubordination, and suspended from active duty for five years without pay. Mitchell resigned instead, as of February 1, 1926, and spent the next decade writing and preaching air power to all who would listen. However his departure from the service sharply reduced his ability to influence either policy or public opinion.

Mitchell viewed the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Navy man, as advantageous for airpower. He believed the new president might even appoint him as assistant secretary of war for air or perhaps even secretary of defense in a new and unified military organization. Neither ever materialized. Mitchell died of a variety of ailments including a bad heart and influenza in a hospital in New York City on February 19, 1936 and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Posthumous recognition

The North American B-25 bomber, utilized by Jimmy Doolittle to bomb Tokyo in 1942 in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, was nicknamed the "Mitchell," after Billy Mitchell. The B-25 "Mitchell" is the only American military aircraft that has been named after a specific person.

In 1946, Mitchell was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, "in recognition of his outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation."

In 1955, the Air Force Association passed a resolution calling for the voiding of Mitchell's court-martial. His son petitioned in 1957 to have the court-martial verdict set aside, which the Air Force denied while expressing regret about the circumstances under which Mitchell's military career ended.

The 1955 motion picture The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, directed by Otto Preminger, portrays Mitchell's plight in a dramatic yet vindicating light.

General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is named after him.

The cadet dining hall at the United States Air Force Academy is named after him.

General William Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado is also named after him, as is Mitchell Hall at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The Civil Air Patrol cadet program includes an award called the Billy Mitchell Award.

In 2004, Congress voted to authorize the President to commission Mitchell as a Major General in the Army, posthumously, which the President did in 2005.

In 1999, General Mitchell's portrait was put on an US airmail postage stamp.

On May 18, 2006, the US Air Force unveiled two prototypes for new service dress uniforms, referencing the service's heritage. One, modeled on the United States Army Air Service uniform, was designated the "Billy Mitchell heritage coat"

I salute you Sir!