The Way and Life of General Carl A. Spaatz

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  • Topic: United States Army Air Forces, United States Army Air Service, Henry H. Arnold
  • Pages : 8 (3165 words )
  • Download(s) : 179
  • Published : May 2, 2005
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The Way and Life of General Carl A. Spaatz
The name General Carl ‘Tooey' Andrew Spaatz has become synonymous with the phrase air power and strategist. Air power has come along way since Wilbur and Orville launched the first airplane in 1902 in the city of Kitty Hawk. Famous engineers have taken the Wright-Brothers design and made great improvements to them while slowly integrating these new powerful means of transportation, weaponry and communication aids into the military. Since the onset of World War I there has been a debate on how to most effectively use these new airplanes in the Army's collection. Most individuals believed that airplanes should be under control of the Army theater commander, while very few felt that these airplanes should be a separate entity from the Army. One of these few people who believed that the Air Force should be separate is General Spaatz. General Spaatz possessed perseverance, leadership attributes and military knowledge; all factors leading him becoming a substantial proponent of a separate Air Force. Spaatz legacy continues to live on; his leadership skills continue to influence people today as General Spaatz is still able to impact air power in the 21st century. It is no accident that General Spaatz is a proponent of a separate Air Force. Spaatz's perseverance, leadership attributes and military knowledge would lead him to be a proponent of a separate Air Force were all being shaped, tweaked and instilled upon him during his early plebe years at the United States Military Academy (USMA) beginning in 1900. Looking back on Spaatz's career at the USMA, one would not predict Spaatz to become the first Chief of Staff of the newly independent United States Air Force. However, these four years spent at the USMA were very influential, particularly in Spaatz's development as a leader and his ability to persevere. While at the USMA Spaatz was very much a rebel and was constantly breaking the rules. Nevertheless, Spaatz knew he was smart, he demonstrated this by being ranked in the top half of his class. Although, as Spaatz entered his senior year, he felt he had nothing else to prove and began to slack off. Eventually Spaatz ended up being ranked near the bottom of his class. He went from the rank of 39th to 98th of 107 within a year. With the possibility of getting kicked-out Spaatz used his perseverance and determination to go from that 98th rank to 57th by graduation (Mets 8). Spaatz knew he was a smart individual and was just persistent on being lazy and breaking the rules while at the USMA. Due to his perseverance to consciously break the rules Spaatz was written up a number of times for failing to perform to the military standard. His wife claims he was not the ideal military soldier and often defied the rules set upon him, as he was still marching punishment tours on graduation day (Mets 7). Some of Spaatz's infractions include failing to clean his rifle properly, gambling, smoking and drinking. The USMA focuses on developing obedience, loyalty and discipline among their plebes; however, the one thing that developed the most was Spaatz's willingness to go against the majority. David R. Mets writes in, Master of Airpower that the one thing learned during his years at USMA was a, "disposition to challenge the system" (7). This ability to have his own ideas and persistence developed at USMA and would be very important in Spaatz's push for a separate and equal Air Force. Spaatz's character development, particularly in the areas of leadership, perseverance and military knowledge did not end with his graduation from the United States Military Academy. After his commission into the Army he was sent to the ideal 2nd Lieutenant location of Hawaii where he was placed in charge of a regiment of black soldiers. He then moved on to the Army Air Service in 1915 and eventually landed in North Island, San Diego, California. While at North Island, Spaatz was very active; he...
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