Mudcat Café message #3903710 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17941   Message #3903710
Posted By: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
03-Feb-18 - 09:51 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Into the Air (Junior Birdmen)
Subject: RE: Origins: Into the Air (Junior Birdmen)
RE: The AAC, AAF &c history and names.

The U.S. military air forces began as a flying circus, well, ballooning circus anywho. It all started when an Illinois Central brakeman named Thomas Scott Baldwin decided to turn circus stuntman.

He was the first to descend from a balloon by parachute and wound up managing the U.S. Army's balloon and dirigible programs. Baldwin ordered a custom engine for one early prototype from Glenn H. Curtiss. Within a month Curtiss was all in.

In 1910, Chutes Park, Los Angeles, Charles Colby's & Baldwin's home aerodrome founded the first lighter-than-air National Guard unit. Colby was their test pilot.

In 1911, Curtiss founded the first fixed wing Air National Guard unit in San Francisco.

Billy Mitchell was a T.S. Baldwin student. Henry "Hap" Arnold & Carl "Tooey" Spaatz also came up through the U.S. Signal Corps' Aviation Section, to mention a few.