Major General Benjamin D. Foulois
1879 - 1967
First United States Military Aviator
Inducted in 1980
Benjamin "Benny" Delahauf Foulois is considered the "father of U.S. military aviation" since he was the first United States officer assigned to pilot a military airplane. In December 1909, Lieutenant Foulois was ordered to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with instructions to "take plenty of parts and teach yourself to fly."
Guided via correspondence with Orville Wright, Foulois flew the Army Aeroplane Model 1, a Wright Model A, in March 1910. He experienced his first take-off, solo flight, landing and crash in the space of one day.
A year later, Foulois and Philip Parmalee, a civilian pilot trained by the Wrights, made the first military reconnaissance flight during maneuvers along the Rio Grande. Lieutenant Foulois was later promoted to Major General and served as Chief of the Army Air Service until his retirement in 1935.