Army

October 11, 2013

Military Intelligence – this week in history

Tags:
Ruth Quinn, Staff Historian
USAICoE Command History Office

Two courageous lieutenants launch aerial intelligence mission

Members of the 8th Aero Squadron pose for a picture at Saizerais Aerodrome, France, on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918.

Oct. 9, 1918
Astonished onlookers watched the first manned hot air balloon fly for a distance of five miles over Paris in 1783.

Benjamin Franklin, in Paris at the time, immediately recognized a potential military use for the technology: “such as elevating an engineer to take a view of an enemy’s army, works, etc., conveying intelligence into, or out of a besieged town, giving signals to distant places, or the like.”

Less than one hundred years later during America’s Civil War, Franklin’s vision became reality as Thaddeus Lowe telegraphed the location of enemy troops from his tethered hot air balloon to commanders on the ground, allowing them a “birds-eye-view” of the battlefield.

In 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew the first powered airplane and the Army bought its first aircraft six years later. In 1915, conscious of the rapid advancements in aviation technology in Europe due to wartime demands, Congress established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA. This group wanted to close the gap that American engineers had in aircraft design and production due to lack of experience, compared to their European counterparts. They were too late. When the United States entered World War I, the fledgling First Aero Squadron took the tenuous lessons learned during the Punitive Expedition and tried to make up for lost time – but they were three years behind.

However, the war would not wait. Pilots were recruited and trained. Observers were found in other fields and trained as aerial observers and photographers. The military scrambled together a fleet of aircraft. As historian Diane Hamm wrote in Military Intelligence: Its Heroes and Legends, “The story of the beginnings of U.S. Army photo intelligence is not one of a single individual, but rather, of a group of heroes: the pilots, observers, and cameramen who almost daily for a period of six months, between April and October 1918, risked their lives to gather vital information for the Allies. Theirs was a baptism under fire.”

A World War I aerial photographer/observer sights his camera from the rear cockpit of an Army airplane.

Two of these men were 1st Lt. Edward Moore of Columbia, Mo., and 1st Lt. Gardner Allen of Milwaukee. They were both only 21 years old in 1918 and members of the 8th Aero Squadron, which activated in the summer of 1917 at Kelly Field, Texas. The men were sent to Selfridge Field, Mich., for three and one half months of training. Moore was a flight cadet, training to become a pilot. He learned to solo on a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” trainer, but would have to learn to fly missions on a precise course with consistent air speed and altitude within range of artillery in order for his observer to be able to take usable photos. Allen was trained as an observer. He would have had to learn how to operate the camera strapped to the side of an airplane, using a stop watch to ensure the correct overlap of each exposure.

The 8th Aero Squadron was ordered to France in July 1918. They were equipped with the Dayton-Wright DH-4 aircraft, only the second squadron equipped to reach the Western Front. They received two more weeks of intensive training on flying over enemy territory. Their training, skills, courage, and sheer grit, would all come into play on Oct. 9, 1918, when they found themselves under attack by German planes in the midst of a photographic mission. Both men received Distinguished Service Crosses for extraordinary heroism in action near Thiaucourt, France on that day; their citations were almost identical. 1st Lt. Edward Russell Moore, pilot, along with 1st Lt. Gardner Philip Allen, observer…

“took advantage of a short period of fair weather during generally unfavorable atmospheric conditions to undertake a photographic mission behind German lines. Accompanied by two protecting planes, they had just commenced their mission when they were attacked by eight enemy planes which followed them throughout their course, firing at the photographic plane.  1LT Moore, with both flying wires cut by bullets, a landing wire shot away, his elevators riddled with bullets, and both wings punctured, continued on the prescribed course, although it made him an easy target.  1LT Allen was thus enabled in the midst of the attack to take pictures of the exact territory assigned, and he made no attempt to protect the plane with his machine guns.  Displaying entire disregard for personal danger, and steadfast devotion to duty, both officers successfully accomplished their mission.”

Both officers survived the mission and the war, and lived long lives. They were honored with induction into the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame in 1988.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Donald Nelson

Logistics Readiness Center provides different facets of support on post

Donald Nelson Soldiers of the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion take a class in pallet building April 24 at the battalion’s motor pool. The class dealt with the logistical side of deployment the Soldiers would later experie...
 
 

Traffic changes at fort’s East Gate begin Monday due to major construction

The east gate on Fort Huachuca receives a major facelift beginning Monday. The project will impact traffic flow into the installation and there will be delays. Two lanes will be open for inbound traffic which will be routed through the outbound lanes for a portion of the road. Traffic will be inbound only from 5...
 
 
Army.mil

U.S. Army celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Army.mil Mr. Gonzalo Soanes, mayor of Caguas, explains how his town conducted blackouts to Lt. Col. F. Parra, Maj. Gen. Collins, and Lt. Gen. Andrews, Puerto Rico, November 1941. The U.S. Army recognizes the achievements and co...
 

 
J.D. Leipold

Are you, your Family prepared for an emergency or disaster?

J.D. Leipold Bill Newman of the Army’s Emergency Management Program at the Pentagon speaks with a Soldier about creating an emergency kit for his Family. The “Ready Army” display at the Pentagon early this month was part ...
 
 

Preventing suicide: ‘Power of 1’ could save a life

WASHINGTON — As Suicide Prevention Month and year-long Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs efforts continue to combat suicide, Pentagon officials emphasize the importance of the power of one, peer support and resources. The DoD, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, has launched “The Power of 1” campaign in observance of Suicide...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Young artist helps local PD catch criminals through her work

Courtesy photo Makenzie Sargent is pictured with some of her artwork. A young woman whose parents work on Fort Huachuca is helping the Sierra Vista Police Department take a bite out of crime through her artwork. Makenzie Sargen...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin