Eaker, Ira C.
Nice 1977 TLS of the early US Army pilot, deputy commander of US Army Forces in WW II to the Commandant of the Army War College
Autograph ID: 6741
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1896-1987) Joined US Army 1917, in March 1918 sent for flying instruction at Austin and Kelly Fields in Texas, rated a pilot following October. A pilot on Dec. 1926-May 1927 Pan American Flight, a goodwill trip around South America, awarded Mackay Trophy. Chief pilot on Jan. 1-7,1929 endurance flight of Army plane, “Question Mark”, establishing new world flight endurance record. Entire crew of 5, inc. Eaker & mission commander Carl Spaatz, awarded DFC. Made 1930 1st transcontinental flight entirely with instruments. In Nov. 1940, assumed command of 20th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field, Calif. USAAF Brig Genl Jan. 1942, 2nd in-command of prospective Eighth Air Force, sent to England to form and organize its bomber command, named Eighth Air Force commander Dec. 1, 1942. Personally participated in 1st B-17 Flying Fortress bomber strike against German forces in France, bombing Rouen Aug. 17, 1942. Lieut. Genl. Sept. 1943, architect of strategic bombing force that ultimately numbered 40 groups of 60 heavy bombers each, supported by fighter command of 1,500 aircraft, most of which was in place when he took overall command of 4 Allied air forces in the Mediterranean Theater in 1944. Deputy Commander of US Army Air Forces by end of war. Worked in aerospace industry on retirement then became newspaper columnist.
TLS on 10 ½ x 7 ¼ personal letterhead as Lt. Gen., USAF (Ret.), Washington, February 9 1977, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith, Commandant, Army War College. General Eaker is looking forward to his March 21 visit to the AWC, always enjoys his visits and finds exchange of ideas with faculty and students very stimulating. Eaker tells Smith: “I told both the Air Force and the Navy that I believe the army War College exceeds either of them in a continuing interest in leadership in World War II.”
DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”