(1879–1936) was an early aviation pioneer who rose to become a chief of the U.S. Army Air Service
. Mitchell was born in Nice, France and raised on his family estate near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended George Washington University
before enlisting in the Army at age 18 during the Spanish–American War
. Due to his family connection he quickly received a commission Signal Corps
where he had the opportunity to witness a flight demonstration by the Wright brothers
in 1908. In 1916 he took private flight lessons and was transferred to the Aeronautical Division
Mitchell deployed to France in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. While there he was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command American combat air units in France. After the war Mitchell was appointed the deputy director of the Air Service became a passionate advocate of air power. In 1921 he set up a demonstration to show the capability of airpower against naval vessels. During the course of the demonstrations aircraft successfully sank a captured German destroyer, the light crusier Frankfurt, and the battleship Ostfriesland.
Mitchell regularly sparred with his superiors over the role of airpower in the military. In 1925 he was reverted to his permanent rank of colonel and was transferred to San Antonio, Texas. Later that year, after a series of aviation accidents he accused Army and Navy leadership of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." In response he was court-martialed for insubordination, found guilty, and sentenced to a five-year suspension from active duty. Mitchell resigned on 1 February 1926 in lieu of serving the sentence. He continued to advocate airpower as a civilian until his death in 1936. In 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt posthumously promoted Mitchell to major general in recognition of his contributions to air power.