General Henry Arnold And The United States Airforce

1139 words - 5 pages

It can be argued that General Henry “Hap” Arnold is the father of the United States Air Force. His experiences, wisdom, and foresight are what made him, in every way, a visionary leader. Due to his efforts developing air mindedness during the first part of the 20th century, he shaped what is today the greatest Air Force on the planet. I will begin by explaining his effective use of transformational leadership and the impact it has on the development of airpower. Then I will explain how his acceptance of diversity impacted the war effort during WWII and the future of the United States Air Force. First, we must know what shaped him into the leader he eventually became.
Hap Arnold started out his military career somewhat average. He attended the United States Military Academy graduating in 1907. While at the academy he was not a stand out student. Hap was so average he received an assignment to the infantry, instead of the cavalry, which was highly coveted at that time, similarly to getting accepted to pilot training out of the U.S. Air Force Academy today. In 1911 he became one of the first Army aviators and even won the Mackay trophy for taking a biplane to an altitude of 6,540 feet, a record at the time (Glines, 2006). The early days of military aviation was not without danger. Hap almost died when his plane when into an uncontrolled spin. After that experience he gave up flying, stating, “I cannot even look at a machine in the air without feeling that some accident is going to happen to it (Glines, 2006).” Billy Mitchell brought him back to the flying world in 1916. While stationed in San Diego he was able to get over his fears and return to flying. He filled several positions during his career; supply officer, Squadron Commander, executive officer for the Signal Corps Aviation Division, and assistant director of military aeronautics. He learned many lesson over these years and these lessons were start of his path to the driving factor for change in the Air Corps.
Hap began to prove the value and feasibility of aircraft during military operations. He led and organized an 18,000 mile flight of 10 B-10 bombers from Washington D.C. to Fairbanks, AK. The mission ended up accomplishing three things; 1) mapped 35,000 square miles of territory, 2) proved that bombers could be flown in mass formation over great distances, and 3) began to restore the confidence of the American people in the Air Corps. Arnold demonstrated untiring energy, professional flying skill and fearless leadership (Glines, 2006). This example shows his unwavering commitment to the mission and ties directly to the message in the CSAF White Paper, “The story of the Air Force is a story of innovation. Airmen, using their unique perspective, have long stood for and pioneered innovative ways to win the fight while shaping the future.” This is exactly what hap Arnold was doing. He showed all of the Air Force Core Values in this one mission. He would go on to be...

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