The Quest for an Air Academy
The idea for an air academy was voiced at least as early as 1918. In November of that year–as World War I was ending–Lieutenant Colonel A. J. Hanlon wrote a memo to his superior stating: “As the Military and Naval Academies are the backbone of the Army and Navy, so must the Aeronautical Academy be the backbone of the Air Service.” There were numerous other suggestions regarding and air academy–by Billy Mitchell, Mason Patrick, Bert Dargue, Bart Yount, and others–but nothing ever came of these proposals. It would take nearly five decades for Hanlon’s vision to become a reality.
The main reason for this slow progression was the bureaucratic situation the air arm found itself in during that period. In essence, airmen first had to justify to the War Department, Congress, the president, and the American people of the need for a separate Air Force, equal in importance and political power to the Army and Navy…
World War II made clear to all but the most inveterate opponents of change that airpower had earned its place as a coequal branch of the armed services. The Air Force became a reality on September 17, 1947. Step one achieved. (Pages 174-176)