Mitchell, Billy

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Mitchell, Billy Gender: M
William Mitchell
born on 29 December 1879 at 10:00 (= 10:00 AM )
Place Nice, France, 43n42, 7e15
Timezone LMT m7e15 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Steinbrecher
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 07°21' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 15°21 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 20°38'

Billy Mitchell


American military man, born in France, who became the youngest officer ever appointed to the General Staff in 1912 and who, by 1920, was a Brigadier General. As a heroic and skilled pilot, he was an early and lifelong advocate of air power. He was the most famous U.S. aviator of World War I. Court-martialed in 1925 for insubordination, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1948.

The son of a wealthy Wisconsin senator, Billy Mitchell was born in Nice, France while his parents were on an extended tour of Europe. When he was three the family returned to Milwaukee where he attended Racine College and Columbian University (now George Washington University, Washington, D.C.). He left Columbian in 1898 before graduating to enlist in the 1st Wisconsin Infantry in the Spanish-American war. He proved to be an exemplary junior officer, with a rare degree of initiative, courage and leadership ability.

He served in Cuba, the Philippines and in Alaska. After various assignments he attended officer training schools in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas from 1907-1909. In 1912 he became the youngest officer ever assigned to the General Staff of the War Department. As a 38 year-old major in the U.S. Army Air Service he learned to fly in 1916, taking his first solo flight in the spring of 1917, and became a close friend of Orville Wright, U.S. aviation pioneer.

In April 1917 Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell quickly took charge of European war operations and began preparations for the American air units that were to follow. As the first American to fly over enemy lines in combat, he also proved to be a highly effective air commander, advancing rapidly in rank and responsibility. He then established and headed the U.S. Air Service. In 1918 he was appointed Commander of all Allied Air Services.

In September 1918 he successfully conducted a mass bombing attack over German positions with nearly 1,500 planes. Recognized as the top American combat airman of the war (he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and several foreign decorations), Mitchell, nevertheless, managed to alienate most of his superiors. Returning to the U.S. in early 1919, he was appointed the deputy chief of the Air Service, retaining his one-star rank.

In the early 1920s he brashly advocated the creation of an independent air force and continued working on improvements in aircraft and their use. But his great crusade was his claim that aircraft were capable of sinking ships – even rendering the battleship obsolete. He proved his point at Chesapeake Bay in 1921 and in 1923, by test-bombing and sinking several captured and elderly battleships, further angering his superiors. In April 1925 he was transferred to the minor post of Air Officer of the VIII Corps area in San Antonio, Texas, and demoted to the rank of colonel, a move widely seen as punishment and exile.

He was doggedly critical of the low state of preparation and the poor quality of equipment of the tiny Air Service. He was one of the first to take advantage of the power of media attention. Frequently photographed with celebrity friends and acquaintances, he easily upset colleagues and superiors. When the Navy dirigible Shenandoah crashed in a storm, killing 14 of the crew, Mitchell issued his famous 1925 statement to the press berating senior leaders in the Army and Navy for neglect of safety matters. He was, as he expected, court-martialed, with his trial beginning on 10/28/1925. Hoping to use the trial to publicly air his views, he was nonetheless found guilty of insubordination and suspended from active duty for five years without pay. (A single dissenting vote was cast by his boyhood friend, Colonel Douglas MacArthur.)

Mitchell chose to resign instead as of 2/01/1926, and retired to a farm near Middleburg, Virginia. He continued his crusade for air supremacy. In the early 1920s he had already predicted a possible attack by Japanese aircraft launched from carrier ships and directed at the Hawaiian Islands. He wrote more than 60 articles, several newspaper series and five books, never swerving from his mission for public understanding of the promise and potential of air power. He made his last public appearance on 2/11/1935, when he addressed the House Military Affairs Committee.

Mitchell died in a New York City hospital on 2/19/1936 of a variety of ailments, including a bad heart and influenza. He had elected to be buried in Milwaukee, his hometown, rather than at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1946, a grateful Congress posthumously promoted him to the rank of Major General. A special Congressional Medal in his honor was presented to his son John in 1948. In 1955, the same year as the film, "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell" starring Gary Cooper restored his reputation as a hero, the Air Force Association passed a resolution to void Billy Mitchell's court-martial. In 1957, William Mitchell, Jr., petitioned the Air Force to set aside his father’s court-martial verdict. The request was denied.

In 1970, Billy Mitchell was featured among 'These We Honor' at the International Aerospace Museum's 'Hall of Fame' in San Diego, California.

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Social : End a program of study 1898 (Left Columbian University)
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1907 (Began officers training)
  • Work : New Career 1912 (Appointed general staff)
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1916 (Began learning to fly)
  • Work : Begin Major Project April 1917 (European war operations)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : New Job 1918 (Commander of Allied Air Services)
  • Work : Gain social status 1920 (Achieved Brigadier General)
  • Work : Fired/Laid off/Quit 1925 (Court-martialed for insubordination)
  • Work : Lose social status April 1925 (Demoted and transferred to TX)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Retired 1 February 1926 (Retired from the service)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death, Cause unspecified 19 February 1936 (Age 56)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Prize 1948 (Congressional Medal of Honor)

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from Steinbrecher


  • Traits : Personality : Courageous
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack (Bad heart when older)
  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged (Dad a wealthy senator)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Hazardous work
  • Lifestyle : Work : Loss of job (Court marshalled)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Retirement circumstances (Moved to a farm)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Stressful work (Alienated superiors)
  • Vocation : Military : Combat (WW I)
  • Vocation : Military : Honors (Posthumously Medal of Honor)
  • Vocation : Military : Military career
  • Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ military
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Leadership
  • Notable : Famous : Notable extremes (Most famous pilot of WW I)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession