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Billy Mitchell
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Brigadier General William L. Mitchell,
United States Army Air Service
Birth name William Lendrum Mitchell
Born (1879-12-29)December 29, 1879
Nice, France
Died February 19, 1936(1936-02-19) (aged 56)
New York City, United States
Buried
Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the US Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1898–1926
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major general (posthumous)
Commands held Air Service, Third Army – AEF
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
World War I
  • Battle of Saint-Mihiel
  • The Lost Battalion
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal
Congressional Gold Medal (posthumous)

William Lendrum Mitchell (December 29, 1879 – February 19, 1936) was a United States Army general who is regarded as the father of the United States Air Force.

Mitchell served in France during World War I and, by the conflict's end, commanded all American air combat units in that country. After the war, he was appointed deputy director of the Air Service and began advocating increased investment in air power, believing that this would prove vital in future wars. He argued particularly for the ability of bombers to sink battleships and organized a series of bombing runs against stationary ships designed to test the idea.

He antagonized many administrative leaders of the Army with his arguments and criticism and, in 1925, was returned from appointment as a brigadier general to his permanent rank of colonel due to his insubordination. Later that year, he was court-martialed for insubordination after accusing Army and Navy leaders of an "almost treasonable administration of the national defense" for investing in battleships instead of aircraft carriers. He resigned from the service shortly afterward.

Mitchell received many honors following his death, including a commission by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a major general. He is also the first person for whom an American military aircraft design, the North American B-25 Mitchell, is named. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also named after Mitchell.

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