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"Our Air Force - A Farce!" by Major Al Williams

Stargazer2006

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Stumbled across this AMAZING article from the May 1939 issue of Mechanix Illustrated... at a time when the Second World War had not even started yet... It is written by a U.S. Army Air Corps major and it strikes me as much for its spot-on analysis of the state of U.S. aviation at the time as for the liberty of tone that he, a senior officer, uses in a public media such as that magazine. I really wonder if a senior officer of today wouldn't simply get court-martialed for stating such things so abruptly and frankly — or simply for just speaking out on a subject like that... I also wonder how influential this pamphlet may have been in prompting the armed services to upgrade their flying services...

I made a collage to condense it into three screen-sized files. The original page scans can be found here:
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/03/15/our-air-force-a-farce/

farce1.jpg


farce2.jpg


farce3.jpg
 

sferrin

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What need to wonder when it's already happened? How many people got $hitcanned for saying we needed more F-22s?
 

shockonlip

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Thanks Stargazer for posting this!

The name rang a bell, so I searched and found a lot of hits.

I recall enjoying seeing pictures of his Grumman F3F Gulfhawk II biplane
(retractable) and I even recall building a model of it long ago.

Anyway, he was the head of the Gulf Oil Aviation Dept., and eventually
used an F8F Bearcat for that role.

Credited as the first US Navy chief test pilot, and the father
of dive bombing.

He took part in air racing and had some speed records to his name.

There is also a reference where in he was alowed to fly a ME-109 in
the summer of 1938 via Ernst Udet checking him out on the switches
and guages.
http://www.virtualpilots.fi/hist/WW2History-109Dtestflight1938.html

He was born in 1891 and resigned from USN in 1930, but was accepted
in USMC Reserves as a Captain and later as Major in 1935.

Forced to resign from USMC in 1940 for advocating an independent USAF !

Later did flight demos for AAF to educate the public.

Died in 1958.

One of his "Gulfhawks" is in the NASM.

Bio:
http://www.firstflight.org/shrine/alford_williams.cfm

So he was burned for his open views, but I also think some of them
were appreciated as good intelligence. Like his observation that
the ME-109 engine could be changed in 12 minutes, shocked a lot
of people in 1938.
 

Stargazer2006

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Wow! Thank you SO much for researching this remarkable individual! This forum is a great place!
 

yasotay

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Espousing views inconsistent with senior leaders remains a sure fire ticket to "Being beached", "having your wings clipped", or "being cashiered". Flag officers do not attain the heights by being controversial, except on rare occasion where they collect political cover. This is not new.

A very interesting article.
 

sferrin

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yasotay said:
Espousing views inconsistent with senior leaders remains a sure fire ticket to "Being beached", "having your wings clipped", or "being cashiered". Flag officers do not attain the heights by being controversial, except on rare occasion where they collect political cover. This is not new.

A very interesting article.

Not even MacArthur was immune. Thing is if a thing needs to be said it needs to be said and if you get shown the door so be it. CYA has never been a virtue.
 

yasotay

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sferrin said:
yasotay said:
Espousing views inconsistent with senior leaders remains a sure fire ticket to "Being beached", "having your wings clipped", or "being cashiered". Flag officers do not attain the heights by being controversial, except on rare occasion where they collect political cover. This is not new.

A very interesting article.

Not even MacArthur was immune. Thing is if a thing needs to be said it needs to be said and if you get shown the door so be it. CYA has never been a virtue.

And I would venture that those who elect to "go rogue" are for the most part willing to accept that fate. Look at BG Billy Mitchell.
 

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