Spaatz, Carl A.

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Spaatz, Carl A. (1891–1974), World War II general.A 1914 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, one of the earliest U.S. military aviators, commanded a pilot training center in France during World War I. He also managed one tour at the front and shot down three aircraft. After the war he showed his moral and physical courage by testifying at the Mitchell courts‐martial and in pioneering in‐flight refueling. As a special observer in England, in 1940, his optimistic reports helped ensure continued U.S. aid. After participating in World War II planning, he took the Eighth Air Force to England in 1942 and established a cordial working relationship with the Royal Air Force (RAF). Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called him to North Africa in late 1942 as Allied Air Forces commander. Again Spaatz established a sound relationship with the RAF and also helped correct U.S. air‐ground cooperation difficulties. Upon returning to England in 1944 he became the senior U.S. air officer in Europe. At his insistence the United States began the highly successful bombing of the German synthetic oil industry. After the victory in Europe, he transferred to the Pacific and was the senior operational officer in the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1946, as Gen. “Hap” Arnold's successor, he played a leading role in the creation of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a separate military service and in the division of roles and missions between the services. He became USAF Chief of Staff in 1947 and retired the next year.


David R. Mets , Master of Airpower, General Carl A. Spaatz, 1988.
Richard G. Davis , Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe, 1940–1945, 1993.

Richard G. Davis