An Explorer in the Air Service

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    Storia, Saggistica

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It may fairly be said that the Air Service was a genuine expression of the American Idea, defined by Strunsky in one of his charming essays as splen did courage accompanied by a high degree of dis order. We lacked men Of experience; we lacked aviators Of mature judgment; we lacked able exec utive Officers with a sympathetic knowledge of avia tion; we lacked airplanes fit to fly against the Huns; and we lacked facilities for building them. The air plane industry was still in the experimental stage. NO one really manufactured airplanes in the gener ally accepted sense Of that word. NO one had even had any experience in the quantity production Of airplane motors. Yet in July, 1917, Congress appro priated in the fond expectation that before many months we could obtain air planes. In other words, America expected to win the war in the air and was utterly unprepared to do so. The American people laid an impossible task on the shoulders Of the Officers and citizens who Obedi ently undertook to produce on a gigantic scale, and without adequate plans, one of the most difficult arms Of modern warfare.

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