Billy Mitchell’s Legacy

Examine the life and military biography of William “Billy” Mitchell (1879-1936). How did Mitchell’s professional military career and experiences inform his views on the possibilities of American air power?  What is his legacy to American air power?

They cyclic nature of history provides an interesting look at the theories and warnings espoused by Mitchell in the 1920’s and modern day indicators which suggest that the lessons learned almost a century ago remain unheeded stories from the past. Mitchell’s career in the Army was one of unprecedented upward movement within the ranks – at the age of 18, he was the youngest officer, later to be the youngest captain at the age of 24.[1] It was his appointment to the Army General Staff by the time he was 33 that showed that his rise in the ranks was not merely one of connection, but of sheer ability and talent.[2] It could be suggested that such a rapid rate of advancement proved to be his later undoing regarding a temperament which was charismatic, yet demanding and unapologetic.[3]

“Demanding and unapologetic” could also be viewed as “non-regulation.”  (Source: wikimedia commons) 

Continue reading “Billy Mitchell’s Legacy”

What Advice Would NCOs Like to Give to Unseasoned Officers?

This question originally came from Quora and, like others, I took it and ran with it a bit more than I could… and probably still missed some valid points. 

Oh, these topics really make me smile with all sorts of great answers from folks too numerous and well-spoken to list with any brevity.

Speaking from an aviation standpoint, I can offer my own perspectives and will break them down to both Warrant and Commissioned Officers with further points for Aviation Branch (AV) and Medical Service Corps (MSC) folks.

In general:

Fly the bird. Simple enough in theory, but more difficult in practice. To effectively “fly the bird,” one has to have the confidence in their own abilities, the situational awareness of their environment, and the desired end result. Getting “behind the bird” is a bad thing – you will know it, you will try to compensate, and you will exacerbate the problem to the point where the cycle will only end in flames, smallish pieces, and a vignette on what not to do. Not only that, those with experience will know the moment you are on the wrong side of the “curve of correctedness” and they will be watching to see how you are managing.

No, they are NOT about to crash. Oahu, 1997 (Source: author.)

Continue reading “What Advice Would NCOs Like to Give to Unseasoned Officers?”

“What Made You Smile Today?”

A series of texts at12:23am:

Psst, got some news… I made the E7 list.”

“…I cannot thank you enough for writing the letter for me. Words just seem empty compared to how I am filled with gratitude… you have always believed in me. That helps make someone go a long way.”

The source of the texts was one of the crew chiefs I progressed (trained) back when I was 34. At the time, she was ancient in comparison to her peers – if memory serves me correctly, she was in her late 30’s when most of the guys were in their early 20’s. In true “Southern Girl” fashion, she played that off wonderfully:

“‘Cougar’ mah ass! I’m a saber-toothed TIGER! All ya’ll little boys might need to start sleeping on yer stomachs around the half-way point in the deployment!” Continue reading ““What Made You Smile Today?””

Thoughts on Charlottesville, VA

This is one of many questions I have responded to on Quora. Perhaps I may make this a frequent addition to this blog… perhaps not. I would say that I am ambivalent about it, but I’m doubtful about being certain on this idea. 

How does it make United States veterans (especially combat veterans) feel, to see Americans fighting one another in the streets? Continue reading “Thoughts on Charlottesville, VA”

The Crimean War, the American Civil War… Clausewitz, Jomini, and Mahan

I have considered revising some of my academic submissions into long-form posts here, but in the meantime (and consistent with my recent post), I am going to leave this as largely as it was saved – with the question or comments in italics.

Of course, feedback – especially on readability – will always be appreciated.

Looking at the campaigns in the Crimean War and the American Civil War, why do many modern military historians believe that martial technologies outpaced military tactics? In the aftermath of the American Civil War, which of the prominent European military theorists, Jomini or Clausewitz, held more weight in strategic thinking moving forward into the nineteenth century? Why? Continue reading “The Crimean War, the American Civil War… Clausewitz, Jomini, and Mahan”

Cavalry Maiden – Nadezhda Durova

In the time recently freed from the routine of Facebook, I have been bouncing between working on two different papers as well as organizing my “academic submissions” for sharing here.

This one was for one of my earlier classes – off the top of my head, I cannot remember which – and oddly enough, it required very little editing from my earlier ham-fisted approach to proper citation techniques. The assignment was to provide an “analysis/personal reaction” to a history article of one’s choosing. In setting the tone for later assignments, I chose an obscure, yet fascinating individual who challenged the social and gender limitations of her time. Continue reading “Cavalry Maiden – Nadezhda Durova”


For those following me on Facebook as well as here, I am going to take a quick moment to offer the reason for the temporary deactivation of that account.

There comes a point where even the most adamantly patient folks reach their limit, and over the last few days, that limit had been exceeded. I was spending entirely too much time bouncing from news article to research on the issues discussed that I was becoming, to quote my sister, “crotchety.”

So, a decision was made: deactivate the account for one week.

Perhaps “one week” will stretch into two… then a month… or not. One thing is possible: I may refocus back into writing here and, patience permitting, on Quora. Facebook allowed for me to subscribe to feeds beyond my head and perspective, but it has become an addictive, shit-flinging primate on my back, rather than the portal beyond my own ideas.

We shall see…