United States Army General, Aviator Pioneer
Man of Many "Firsts"
Often called the “one-man air force,” Benjamin D. Foulois was involved in evaluating the first military planes purchased from the Wright Brothers and essentially taught himself how to fly in 1910 while stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Foulois established one of the first military airfields at what is now Kelly Field Annex and achieved numerous other military aviation “firsts” during his military aviation service, including the first to fly more than 100 miles non-stop (1911); first to make an operational reconnaissance flight; first to test the use of radio in flight; first commander of a tactical air unit (1st Aero Squadron) (1914); and first to use an aircraft in a combat operation (Mexico, 1916). He later served as Chief of the Air Service during World War I. He retired as a Major General in 1935. He is a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.