William Mitchell Court Martial Collection [Reid]

Collection ID:
Mitchell, William, 1879-1936
bulk 1935-1926
Physical Description:
2.18 Cubic feet
(2 records center boxes)

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of documents relating to Mitchell's court martial in 1925. The material includes charge sheets, testimony, and press releases

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Brigadier General William 'Billy' Mitchell (1879-1936), pilot and aviation and aerial bombing advocate, joined the army as a private and, by the Spanish-American War was the youngest lieutenant involved in the operation. Mitchell saw service in the Philippines, Cuba, and on the Mexican border, and graduated from the Army School of the Line (1908) and Army Staff College (1909) before serving on the Army General Staff (1913-1916). He held a number of command and staff posts in the Air Service in France during World War I (1917-1919) and first soloed in 1917. After a short period as Director of Military Aeronautics (1919) and Chief of Training and Operations (1920), he became Assistant to the Chief of Air Service (1921-1926). During this period he advocated the creation of an independent Air Service and demonstrated the utility of air power through the famous bomber vs. battleship trials (1921), the group flight to Alaska from the continental US (1923), and Army's Around the World Flight (1924). Unfortunately, Mitchell's public criticism of government policies, in defiance of Army regulations, resulted in his court martial for conduct prejudicial of 'good order and military discipline' and insubordination in October-December 1925. Found guilty and suspended for five years, Mitchell resigned his commission in January 1926. He continued to promote aviation and decry government inefficiencies until his death.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
William H. Webb, gift, 1973, XXXX-0082, unknown

See also: Mitchell Papers at Library of Congress, Manuscript Division

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Conditions Governing Use
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Aeronautics, Military Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Air pilots Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bombing, Aerial Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Press releases Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mitchell, William, 1879-1936 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151