1879 – General William "Billy" Mitchell Born

On this date aviation pioneer was born in Nice, France. Mitchell grew up in Milwaukee and attended Racine College. During World War I, Mitchell was the first American airman to fly over enemy lines.  He also led many air attacks in France and Germany. Upon return to the U.S., he . Much to the dislike of A.T. Mahan, , and other contemporaries, Mitchell asserted that the airplane had rendered the battleship obsolete, and attention should be shifted to developing military air power. Mitchell’s out-spokenness resulted in his being court martialed for insubordination. He was sentenced to five years suspension of rank without pay. — an old Milwaukee friend — was a judge in Mitchell’s case and voted against his court martial. Mitchell’s ideas for developing military air power were not implemented until long after his death. In 1946 Congress created a medal in his honor, the General “Billy” Mitchell Award. Milwaukee’s airport, , is named after him. [Source: ]