At 9 A.M. on the morning of Tuesday March 20, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped to a podium in the State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Dining Room and addressed a roomful of reporters, federal officials, and a sprinkling of female military aviators. Behind her sat the Secretary of Transportation, the foreign minister of the nation of Kiribati, the CEO of Lockheed Martin, underwater explorer Robert Ballard, and Richard Gillespie, executive director of The Investigative Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). Read more »
On the morning of October 5, 1905, Amos Stauffer and a field hand were cutting corn when the distinctive clatter and pop of an engine and propellers drifted over from the neighboring pasture. The Wright boys, Stauffer knew, were at it again. Glancing up, he saw the flying machine rise above the heads of the dozen or so spectators gathered along the fence separating the two fields. The machine drifted toward the crowd, then sank back to earth in a gentle arc. The first flight of the day was over in less than 40 seconds. Read more »
In 1929 Germany announced that the mighty new dirigible Graf Zeppelin would fly around the world. This stirred a great deal of excitement in the United States, not only because such gigantic airships were thought to be the future of aviation but also because the newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst had put up two hundred thousand dollars to finance part of the Zeppelin’s flight and was promoting it aggressively. Read more »
Wilbur Wright boarded a Big Four train at the Union Station in Dayton, Ohio, at six-thirty on the evening of Thursday, September 6, 1900. Thirty-three years old, he was setting off on the first great adventure of his life. Other than a trip to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago with his younger brother, Orville, in 1893, Wilbur had ventured no farther than a bicycle ride from his home in more than sixteen years.Read more »
The headlines of July 3 stunned the country: EARHART PLANE DOWN … AMELIA LOST IN THE PACIFIC , they read. AE MISSES ISLAND ON LONG HOP … LADY LINDY LOST. Nine years earlier Amelia Earhart had captured the nation’s heart when she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a plane. But she had made that journey as a passenger and didn’t feel her fame was justified until 1932, when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.Read more »
For hundreds of years ships of war were of wood, moved by the wind. Their long-range weapons were simple cannon, while at short ranges, with ships locked alongside one another in deadly embrace, the sailors used cutlasses, sabers, pikes, and small arms. The strategy of sea power consisted of maneuvering, out of sight and beyond knowledge, into position where the power of the guns and their trained crews could become decisive.
In 1919, heavier-than-air flight was less than sixteen years old, but men were already using their frail new wings for nothing less ambitious than leaping an ocean. That year, the Atlantic was vaulted three times in three consecutive months, first by a team of American naval airmen in a flying boat, then by two Englishmen in a conventional bomber, and finally by the crewmen and officers of a British dirigible. The exploits of the aerial adventurers provided hope in an otherwise uneasy postwar springtime.
George Churchill Keimey is one of America’s most distinguished military men. A career Air Force officer who enlisted as a private and rose through the ranks, he was at the end of World War II Commanding General of the Allied Air Forces in the Pacific; later he headed the Strategic Air Command for two years hefore retiring in 1951 as a four-star general.Read more »