Air Force Roles and Missions: A History (1998) by Warren A. Trest

By Warren A. Trest

Lines the use of- and that means given to- the phrases "roles and missions" with regards to the defense force and especially to the us Air strength, from 1907 to the current.

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26 Origins ships. “When this comes about, the air force will constitute the first line of defense of the country,” Mitchell wrote in October 1920. ”89 Mitchell clamored for a bombing test to prove his point. In November, the Navy scheduled a secret test, inviting Mitchell to observe. Navy planes dropped dummy bombs on an old battleship anchored in the Chesapeake Bay, the USS Indiana. Bombs laid on and near the ship were exploded. The ship did not sink. 90 The War and Navy Departments hoped the bombing test would bring a quiet conclusion to the unwanted roles and missions controversy, but public airing of the test by the news media turned the event into a dramatic transition to the second chapter.

The main targets were the light cruiser Frankfort and the battleship Ostfriesland, which were to be positioned sixty miles off the Virginia coast. 22 Mitchell and the Navy were clearly at cross purposes over test plans and objectives. Mitchell’s goal was to attack and sink the test targets, thus proving the airplane’s mastery at sea. In contrast, the Navy planned the tests as scientific experiments to gauge the capacity of the ships to withstand attack from naval gunfire and aerial bombardment.

70 At the time, Foulois thought a more mature air arm with stronger representation on the General Staff would best serve the future of Army aviation. A board of senior officers convened by General Pershing to record the lessons of World 21 Roles and Missions War I heard Foulois’ views. Foulois felt most combat units should be assigned to armies, corps, and divisions, with a GHQ reserve independent of these units. ”71 After returning to the United States, Foulois changed his mind and joined other flying officers advocating a separate air arm.

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