Henry Arnold Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1886 - 1950 *** Full Name: Henry Harley Arnold *** Nickname: Hap *** Occupation: American General Officer, Chief of the Air Corp, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces and a founder of Pan American Airways *** Date of Birth: Henry Arnold was born on June 25th 1886 *** Place of Birth: Henry Arnold was born in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, USA *** Family background: His father was Dr Herbert Alonzo Arnold, a man of strong will and a prominent member of the military and political Arnold Family and his mother was Anna Louise Harley. His mother was the first female that was able to attend high school. Although Henry was Baptist by religion the families both had strong Mennonite ties. His father would take part as a surgeon during the Spanish-American War in the Pennsylvania Nation Guard and would remain a member for twenty four years *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Pennsylvania with his family *** Education: Henry Arnold attend Lower Merion High School and went on to attend West Point ***
Henry Arnold Fact 1: Henry Arnold was born on June 25th 1886 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Henry Arnold Fact 2: He was not fond of the infantry and volunteered to assist Captain Arthur S. Cowan who was in the Philippines on a temporary assignment. Cowan would offer him the opportunity to transfer to the Signal Corps and although Arnold immediately replied his interest he heard nothing back.
Henry Arnold Fact 3: In mid-1909 Arnold was transferred with the Infantry to France with a stop off at Fort Jay in New York. This was the first time he would see an airplane in flight.
Henry Arnold Fact 4: Two years later he requested a transfer to the Ordnance Department and promoted to first lieutenant. He also requested a transfer to the Signal Corp which was granted and he was sent to flight instruction in Simms Station Ohio, where the Wright Brother’s aviation school was located.
Henry Arnold Fact 5: He began his flight training on May 3rd and completed his instructions on May 14th was complete. He received Federation Aéronautique Internationale on July 6th 1911 and a year later a Military Aviator Certificate No. 2.
Henry Arnold Fact 6: He was one of the first twenty four rated military aviators who would be authorized to wear the Military Aviator badge.
Henry Arnold Fact 7: In 1913 he married Eleanor “Bee” Pool on September 10th with Thomas DeWitt Milling, who had completed their flight training together, stood up as his best man.
Henry Arnold Fact 8: Having had a near crash and having grounded himself afterwards he decided it was time to take to the skies again and was ordered to put together his first command and scouted for a suitable location for an airfield in the Panama Canal Zone.
Henry Arnold Fact 9: In 1918 the Air Service was separated from the Signal Corps and with the assistance of Major General Mason M. Patrick he spoke highly in favor of having the Air Force as an independent entity.
Henry Arnold Fact 10: By 1920 Arnold would become one of twenty one infantry majors who were formally transferred to the Air Service by War Department Special Orders.
Henry Arnold Fact 11: 1922 was not a very good year for health reasons for all of the Arnold family. Henry was suffering from severe stomach ulcers, he needed three fingertips to be amputated and experienced a number of serious accidents and illnesses that required hospitalization. His wife and children also suffered several bouts of illness including the loss of one of their son’s under the age of two from acute appendicitis.
Henry Arnold Fact 12: In 1931 he would take command of March Field in California where his responsibilities included the refurbishment of the base.
Henry Arnold Fact 13: In December of 1935 he became Assistance Chief of Air Corps with responsibility for procurement and supplies.
Henry Arnold Fact 14: Although rumors were circulated to Arnold had a drink problem when a promotion came up after the sudden death of the previous Major General the rumors were cleared up and President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself appoint Arnold as the Chief of Air Corps in September that year.
Henry Arnold Fact 15: In 1941 the division between authority of GHQ Air Force and Air Corps was settled by creating the United States Army Air Forces.
Henry Arnold Fact 16: Arnold would become Chief of the Army Air Forces and acting “Deputy Chief of Staff for Air” with completely authority over both the Air Force Combat Command and the Air Corps and all this just two days prior to Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.
Henry Arnold Fact 17: As the U.S. was on the verge of entering the war and even though the creation of AFF was supposed to give clear channels for authority it still was not working properly, finally the Army adopted what Arnold had advocated previously which was an independent and separate Airforce. Henry Arnold Fact 18: In 1943 heavy losses were suffered in Europe by changes made by Arnold including the change of command would make the Eighth Air Force very decisive in Germany’s defeat. This gave Arnold the breathing space to concentrate on Japan.
Henry Arnold Fact 19: Similar problems would arise for the campaign against Japan as those that arose during the campaign against Germany and eventually Arnold would recognize that a change in command was needed and he made the changes.
Henry Arnold Fact 20: Arnold would suffer four heart attacks between 1943 and 1945. In 1946 a trip was cancelled part of the way through when he developed a heart arrhythmia and Arnold left active duty in February 1964 in AAF retiring with a rank of a five-star General of the Army.
Henry Arnold Fact 21: Henry Harley Arnold died on January 15th 1950 at his home. His body was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery after a state funeral in Washington D.C. with special services held in Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.
Influence & Legacy of Henry Arnold: The Arnold Engineering Development Centre and Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee were both named in his honor and the Air Force Association recognized the “most significant contribution by a military member for national defense” with its H.H. Arnold Award.
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