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Looking Back

80th Anniversary of Army Aviation, Operation: TORCH: Grasshoppers Earn Their Wings


Looking Back / Army Aviation, December 2022; By Mark Albertson   80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Operation: TORCH Grasshoppers Earn Their Wings The lack of success of Army Aviation in its first time at bat against the Germans at Fedala, fueled Hap Arnold’s aversion to seeing Cubs in a combat zone, and, certainly inflamed the AAF’s desire to abort the Air Observation Post program. Work horse of the Air OPs, the Piper L-4 Cub.  This plane established itself in a combat theater with the aerial direction of artillery fire, observation and reconnaissance, photo reconnaissance, route column control, light transport, air...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation, Combat Debut: Operation: TORCH


Looking Back / Army Aviation, November 2022; By Mark Albertson   80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Combat Debut: Operation: TORCH It was agreed between London and Washington that the Third Reich posed the greatest threat among the Axis Powers.[1]  Yet it was Japan which attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.  Hitler solved a potential dilemma by declaring war on the United States on December 11, 1941.  Therefore what had been, for the most part, a European war was now a global conflict, December 1941, then, is the turning point of what we call the Second World War. ...

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Sixty Years Ago: The Howze Board Part III


Looking Back / Army Aviation, October 2022; By Mark Albertson Sixty Years Ago: The Howze Board Part III By Mark Albertson * * * * * 1961, Clifton von Kann, recently named Director of Army Aviation, scheduled a briefing with Secretary McNamara on Army Aviation and the importance of tactical aerial assets for the Ground Forces.  “McNamara indicated that the briefing helped him to see Army Aviation in a new light and he requested additional paperwork.”[1] A mover and shaker behind the scenes was Robert R. Williams, a West Point grad and member of the Class Before One and, the...

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Sixty Years Ago: The Howze Board Part II


Looking Back / Army Aviation, September 2022; By Mark Albertson Sixty Years Ago: The Howze Board Part II By Mark Albertson * * * * * 1957, General Hamilton H. Howze, then Director of Army Aviation, in concert with Colonel Claude Sheppard, attempted to sell the Sky Cavalry idea, as put forth by Brigadier General Carl Hutton, General James Gavin and other practitioners of Airmobility. This effort was to impress upon the military and civilian planners at the Pentagon, the benefits of Airmobility as a counterweight to the Soviet preponderance in tank armies in Eastern Europe that had been massed...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation, Reflections in North Africa


Looking Back / Army Aviation, August 2022; By Mark Albertson   For the 80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Reflections in North Africa “Air Danger Zone of Friendly Artillery”By Lieutenant Colonel F.A. Bardo, Field Artillery When air units are working in close support with ground troops the trajectory of the ground weapons creates a problem. Once incident (from World War I) is on the records: a plane and a 155 mm projectile met en-route to their respective objectives; result, no damage to the enemy. From the pilot’s point of view, enemy aircraft and ack-ack are his chief worries while on a...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation, Part IV


Looking Back / Army Aviation, June 2012; By Mark Albertson For the 80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Class Before One, Part IV “The Charter of the Air Observation Post” By Mark Albertson John J, McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, 1942, supported Danford and L-4 Cubs for the Field Artillery in the face of Army Air Forces resistance.  And to Hap Arnold’s chagrin, Mr. McCloy even ordered Cub aircraft for the Ground Forces.  John J. McCloy, together with Charles Bohlen, Robert Lovett, Averell Harriman, Dean Acheson and the incomparable George Kennan, are considered the Wise Men of American Policy.  McCloy will...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation, Part III


Looking Back / Army Aviation, June 2012; By Mark Albertson   For the 80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Class Before One, Part III “Grasshoppers Prove Their Worth” By Mark Albertson The versatility of the L-4 Cub is that it could operate on hard serviced runways, cow pastures and roads, as seen here during the 1941 maneuvers in Louisiana. Ford’s squadron was slated to participate in exercises which would demonstrate the Air OP concept on an official basis, exercises which had been put on hold because of the Day of Infamy. These exercises were to be held at Fort Bragg, North...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation


Looking Back, April 2022 – By Mark Albertson 80th Anniversary of Army Aviation One of the true intellectuals of the Army Aviation movement penned the following, for the 50th anniversary of Army Aviation. This particular effort appeared in the December 1992 issue of Army Aviation, pages 26, 28, 30, 32 and 34.  “Army Aviation, 1955-1962: The Foundation of Air Mobility”By General Hamilton H. Howze, (Ret.){Edited by Mark Albertson]  The period of 1955-1958, for Army Aviation, was one of gradual transfer of authority and responsibility from the Air Force to the Army.  The offices of the Chief of Army Aviation, the Chief...

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Liaison Planes at War


Looking Back / Army Aviation, March 2012; By Mark Albertson   For the 80th Anniversary of Army Aviation: Liaison Planes at War “Grasshopper vs. Goliath”[1] By Major Edward A. Raymond, Field Artillery          Here’s one on air observation, reminiscent of one of my dad’s bear stories.          It was in a mountainous coastal sector in Sicily. The sound of enormous explosions came from behind a high ridge held by the Axis. The American artillery commander was puzzled, and sent up an Air OP. The plane flew out to sea, beyond effective automatic weapons range, and looked up the terrain corridor...

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80th Anniversary of Army Aviation Part II


“Wings for Santa Barbara”[1]By Major William W. Ford, Field Artillery Source:  The Field Artillery Journal, Vol. 31, No. 4, U.S. Field Artillery Association, Washington, D.C., April 1941. The author of ‘Wings for Santa Barbara,’ Major William Wallace Ford, soon to be Lieutenant Colonel William Wallace Ford, first Director of Air Training.  * * * * *           The literary effort below was from the pen of Major William Wallace Ford, who would eventually become Lieutenant Colonel William Wallace Ford, the Director of Air Training of the Air Observation Post, the origins of Army Aviation.            The year...

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