Lead: Billy Mitchell’s experience as Army air combat commander during World War I showed him that future success in warfare depended on air power. His problem was that he just couldn’t keep quiet about it.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Before the war Mitchell had a limited view of the airplane’s potential. He was in the Signal Corps and believed flying machines were primarily useful only for reconnaissance, flying behind and over the battlefield, spotting artillery, tracking enemy maneuvers, and aiding in fast communication and travel. As the months in Europe passed, his perspective began to change. He started to fly battle missions beside his pilots and eventually rose to be leader of the Army’s air arm. Under actual combat conditions, additional powerful possibilities for the airplane began to emerge. Tactically, warplanes could support troops fighting on the ground and strategically, planes could help destroy enemy installations behind the lines.

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