Arnold, Henry H. “Hap”


1947 TLS by the WW II commander of Allied Air Forces and aviation “Early Bird”


Type: Letter
Description: (1886-1950) USMA 1907, received pilot’s license 1911, won Mackay Trophy for 1912 30-mile flight and 1934 US Army Alaska flight. Major General & Chief of US Army Air Corps 1938, Lieutenant General & commander of Army Air Forces 1941. Led USAAF 1942-46, General 1943, (4th) 5-star General of the Army 1944, 1st General of the Air Force 1949, 1st such commission ever granted.

In April 1911 he was detailed to the Signal Corps and sent to Dayton, Ohio for instructions in the Wright biplane. The Wright Brothers personally instructed him for 2 months, after which he soloed and became one of the earliest military aviators in June 1911. On June 1, 1912, he established a new altitude record by piloting a Burgess-Wright airplane to 6,540 feet.On Oct. 9, he won the 1st MacKay Trophy ever awarded for a reconnaissance flight on a triangular course from College Park to Washington Barracks, DC to Fort Myer, Va., and return to College Park, flying the early Wright biplane with its 40hp engine revolving 2 propellers by the chain-and-sprocket method.

He testified on behalf of General Billy Mitchell during the famed courts-martial in fall 1925 when Mitchell was found guilty of insubordination. Arnold shared Mitchell’s beliefs in the strategic capability of the airplane and urged an independent air arm which  Arnold lived to see authorized in 1947. In August 1934 he personally organized and led a flight of 10 Martin B-10 bombers in a round-trip record flight from Washington, D.C. to Fairbanks, Alaska, and next year received his 2nd Mackay Trophy for this achievement.

He gained a reputation as a bomber man, having encouraged development of the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator 4-engine planes, and the precision training of crewmembers. Early in 1943 Arnold made a 35,000-mile tour of North Africa, Middle East, India and China, and attended the Casablanca Conferences. He retired in 1946.

TLS as General of the Army on 10 1/2 x 8 “Hamilton Field, California/ Office of General of the Army H. H. Arnold”,  April 1 1947, to an Ohio woman. Arnold is pleased to sign this letter as the autograph she requested, regrets he cannot comply with her request so far as the envelope was concerned, perhaps a request for a free-franked envelope.

Condition: Very good

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