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Squadron at Texas City.

[[?replied]] the aviator, returning question for question.

"Why, Milling, of course," the engineer said.
 "I never saw a bunch of people have such adoration for a man as you fellows over here in this aviation camp have for Milling.  What is the reason for it, anyway?"

"It isn't adoration, major, it is admiration, and the reason for it was well expressed by General Carter when he reported to the War Department that Lieutenant Milling has become one of the foremost aviators of the world.  That is the reason," continued the member of the Aero Squadron, "that we swear by Milling and defer to his judgement when it comes to questions about flying.  We know that he knows.  Milling is a real aviator.

And the other members of Uncle Sam's small squad of army birdmen are just as enthusiastic in their praise of this young lieutenant, who is the greater flyer of them all.

Thomas DeWitt Milling, second lieutenant Fifteenth United States Cavalry, a native of Louisiana and a graduat of the United States Military Academy at West Point, has had such a remarkably successful career as a military aviator that this sketch of his services to his country in that hazardous branch of the military service, together with an outline of the importance to the art of war of this newly developed "fourth arm" cannot fail to be of interest.  Progress made in the methods of warfare during recent decades finds the infantry, as always, "the queen of battles."  The field artillery is greatly improved in weapons and n the manner of using them, the indirect fire which this arm now employs increasing its effectiveness as the "infantry's most powerful ally."  The old days of the cavalry charge are by many conceded to have become a part of the past, but the great mobility of the mounted troops, together with their function as the "eyes and ears" of a military force, make the cavalry one of the most important auxiliary branches and an absolutely indispensable ally for the great "backbone of the army" - the infantry.

The new "fourth arm," the Aero Squadrons-what is their function to be? Will they spread destruction and terror among troops on land and fleets on the sea by dropping explosives or firing on them from above?  Will they, as air scouts, make known the strength, locations and movements of opposing forces, and thus change the fortunes of war by lifting the veil of uncertainty that so often makes victory or defeat?  Will opposing fleets of air-craft attack one another high above mother earth, where gravity as the ally of the victors shall sweep the vanquished from the sky of conflict?  The marked progress made in aviation during the few years since man first achieved that wonderful feat makes these questions, judging the future by the past, very difficult ones to answer.  It seems fairly certain, however, that the greatest development will be along the lines of scouting and reconnaissance work.  Already the value of aeroplanes for scout-work is so well established that they are considered indispensable in modern military organization.

In our service aviation is under charge of the signal corps, and officers of all branches of the service, infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers, are especially selected and detailed for this duty. Enlisted men are also on duty with the aero squadron, but they are not used as aviators. The principal establishment for training these [[?officers]] [[incomplete]]

[[?atmospheric conditions]] found there during [[?]] there.  The only other army aviation school in the United States is at San Diego, Cal.  As yet very little aviation work has been done in the Philippines, but Captain C. DeF. Chandler, Signal Corps, formerly in charge of the College Park School, recently left for Manila to organize a school in the islands. 

When the Second Division of the Mobile Army was concentrated in the camps at Galveston and Texas City last February, under the command of Major General William H. Carter, U.S.A., the establishment at College Park was organized into the First Aero Squadron and attached to General Carter's division.  Orders issued from Washington early in June transferred almost all of this squadron to San Diego.  The field at Texas City is small and makes rising and landing difficulty and more or less dangerous.  The dangers incident to alighting in a too-restricted field were well but unfortunately illustrated by the wrecked machine of the French aviator, Mestache, when he tried to land in the Louisiana State University football field after flying with the mail from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, April 10, 1912. 

Aviation in our small army is in its infancy.  There are at present eighteen officers detailed for aerial duty.  Two of these officers are in the Philippines, three remain with the second division at Texas City, and the remainder are at, or en route to, San Diego. The United States ranks foruteenth among the world's nations in the number of aeroplanes owned by the various governments.  However, with the limited means available the progress in military aviation has been excellent.  No one person has contributed to this progress in greater degree than his Lieutenant Milling.  Justly may Louisiana pride herself in his achievements.

Lieutenant T. De Witt Milling, a son of Hon. R. E. Milling, of this city, was born July 31, 1887, at Winnfield, La. Appointed to West Point in 1905, young Milling graduated well up in his class in 1909, and was assigned as second lieutenant to the Fifteenth United States Cavalry, stationed at Fort Meyer, just across the Potomac River from Washington City.  In May, 1911, he was detailed for aviation duty and ordered to Dayton, Ohio, where, at the Wrights' school, he learned to fly the Wright machine, and returned to his regular station at College Park in June.  Five feet, seven and a half inches tall, weighing 138 pounds, and of athletic build, Lieutenant Milling looks the typical aviator.  His steady, blue eyes, square jaw, self-possessed, unassuming manner, quick without being nervous, inspire confidence, and mark him as a man who can be counted upon to exercise cool judgement and firm courage in emergencies.  Such remarkable progress had this young officer made that in August of the same year he went to the aviation meet in Boston where he competed with such men as Grahame-White, Sopwith and all the foremost aviators of the country.  This was one of the biggest meets ever held in America.  Lieutenant Milling won the $5,000 prize for biplanes by flying a Wright machine from Boston to Nashua, N. H., thence to Worcester, Mass., thence to Providence, R. I., and back to Boston, a distance of 175 miles.  Various other prizes won at the same meet brought his net awards up to $7,700.  It was at the Boston meet a year later that the fearless woman pilot, Harriet Quimby, met her tragic death.  In October, Lieutenant Milling participated in the meet [[incomplete]]
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was of course very valuable to the government.  [[?]] that the prizes came in very "handy" towards defraying the expenses and costs of royalties, which were heavy, and providing some slight compensation for the risks undergone.

Until a few months ago officers detailed for aviation duty received no extra pay for their hazardous service.  Volunteers for this dangerous work ave nevertheless been plentiful in spite of the well-filled list of fatal casualties.  It is to be expected that where the interests of the country and the good of the service are involved the army will always stand ready to obey the call, and these expectations have not met with disappointment. But members of Congress, recognizing the dangers incident by service on aviation duty, have endeavored to provide some increase of pay for those engaged in it.  At the last session laws were enacted giving a slight increase to those officers actually flying.  No extra pay is granted during the time they are learning to fly, which, of course, is the most dangerous period of an aviator's career. Representative Hay, of Virginia, chairman of the House committee on military affairs, is very much interested in the formation of an adequate aero service for the army, and has introduced a bill in Congress providing for a separate "aviation corps," to be composed of one major, who shall be commandant of the corps: two captains, and not to exceed thirty first lieutenants, all to be detailed from among the officers of the army of the same or next lower grade.  The secretary of war will be authorized to detail the necessary number of enlisted men.  Those who participate in aerial flights will receive 50 per cent increase of pay, and in case of death by accident the widow or other heirs will be given a year's pay at the rate the decreased officer or enlisted man was drawing.  No less than ten officers and enlisted men of our army have paid the price of progress in aerial navigation with their lives.  There is every reason for believing that this bill will pass.  That its pasage will materially increase the efficiency of the aviation service is certain.

After spending the winter of 1911-12 at the Augusta, Ga., instruction camp the aviation school returned to College Park in April, and Lieutenant Milling and Lieutenant Henry H. Arnold, Twenty-ninth Infantry, were then sent to Fort Riley, Kans., to work out a system of target location and fire observation with the field artillery.  Sailing high above the guns, which were placed under cover from the enemy behind the protecting crests of ridges, the aviators were able to locate the targets representing the enemy and send the information to the artillerymen by means of wireless telegraph and by dropping weighted cards with written messages.  The gunners signaled to the aviators by two long strips of white canvas laid flat on the ground, the positions of the strips being varied to represent the different messages of the code agreed upon.  From their elevated position Lieutenants Milling and Arnold could locate accurately and quickly the striking points of the projectiles.  It is very important for the artillery to know if a shot struck short or over, especially when they are first determining the range.  It will be readily seen how much easier this would be looking down at the target than when viewing it from about the same level. These experiments were a success, and the common use of aeroplanes for this purpose will be seen as soon as we have available the machines and men to fly them.
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[[caption]] LIEUTENANT T. DeW. MILLING, U.S.A., In the Uniform of a Cadet at West Point. [[/caption]]

[[?]] of the United States [[?]] aviators, he is just 25 years old.  He was born in Winnfield, Wnn Parish, La.  There, among the friends of his early childhood, [[?]] was very shy, but when his father moved to Franklin, in 1896, he developed into a fearless youngster.

"The boy was so shy when we lived in Winnfield that his older brother, R.C. used to tease him a good deal.  He was afraid to cross a creek on his pony. But when we moved to Franklin, among strangers, a great change came over him.  He entered all the bicycle and pony races.  He grew very fond of athletics, too, and was on all of the teams at the High School.  He developed the capacity of being able to rise to meet a great emergency under stress.  He had been such a timid little fellow that we were very much surprised.  When he told us good-by and started off to West Point I said to his mother, "If that boy is ever placed in a position where prompt and decisive action is required, he will certainly distinguish himself."

At West Point young Milling had the reputation of being a crack shot.  His fondness for horses led him to enter the cavalry service on graduation.  At Fort Leavenworth he was assigned to the quartermaster's department, and shortly afterwards was placed in charge of the commissary.  When the other officers were ordered to Texas for the military maneuvers he was very much chagrined to find out that he would have to remain behind.  Gloom gave way to joy, however, when he received a telegram from Washington asking him if he would accept a position in the aeronautical service. He answered in the affirmative, and when his family heard from him again he was at Dayton, Ohio.  He was very much surprised at his selection for the service, as he had not applied for the position, and there was a long list of applicants who were not chosen.  It was not until some time afterwards that he ascertained the reason for his appointment.  It seems that a member of the board in charge of the appointments had observed him playing polo at Leavenworth, where he was captain of the team, and his activity and skill on the polo field won the admiration of the officer who was responsible for his selection for Uncle Sam's most dangerous service. 

The United States Government has secured permission from the French Government for Lieutenant Milling to study the service of the French aviators.  It is the first request of this character made by Uncle Sam, and Lieutenant Milling will probably remain in France after the Gordon Bennett race.

To determine the vulnerability of aeroplanes to artillery and small arms fire from below experiments have been conducted in firing at captive balloons and kites.  These objects, which were practically stationary, have been hit, but the percentage of hits was not large.  Of course, these were much easier targets than a fast-moving aeroplane at a height of 3,000 or 4,000 feet.  A shot to be effective would have to strike the aviator or a vital spot on the machine.  The size of the target would make this no easy task, as a space 14 by 10 feet would amply cover [[incomplete]]

the vital area.  As Lieutenant Milling expressed it: "A chance shot might get you if they could afford to waste a lot of ammunition to fire at you, but this would be of little value to the enemy if we had a fleet of twenty or thirty machines.  It would be about the same as shooting ducks with a rifle-that's the whole thing." 

Although no attractive prizes were attached to the accomplishment and no throng of interested spectators were present as at the great aviation meets in Boston and New York, where Lieutenant Milling so distinguished himself, undoubtedly his greatest feat as an aviator was his flight from Texas City to San Antonio, on March 28, and return on March 31.  Lieutenant William C. Sherman, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., accompanied Lieutenant Milling as passenger and observer.  The best description of this record-making trip can be had in the following report submitted by the officers, and the indorsements thereon:


First Aero Squadron, Texas City, Tex., April 1, 1913.
From: Second Lieutenants T. DeW. Milling and William C. Sherman, First Aero Squadron, Texas City, Tex. To: Chief signal officer of the Army. Subject: Report on trip from Texas City, Tex., to San Antonio, Tex., and return in Burgess-Wright tractor, biplane No. 9.

First–In going from Texas City to San Antonio, left the ground at 2:15 p.m., March 28, 1913, in an east wind of twenty-five miles per hour.  After circling the field for five minutes and attaining an altitude of 900 feet, started for San Antonio.  It was originally intended to make the flight by compass, verifying the course by prominent points.  However, the air was extremely rough, and so hazy that objects over two miles away could not be distinguished.  Accordingly, after following a compass course west until the Santa Fe Railroad was reached, at a point five miles east to Algon, it was determined to follow this.  The route followed passed through Algoa, Arcola and Richmond, Eagle Lake, Columbus, Flatonia and Luling to Fort Sam Houston. We arrived at Fort Sam Houston at 5:35 p.m., and continued circling the field until 6:37, when we landed.  The total distance from Texas City to Fort Sam Houston over the route followed is 221 miles, making an average velocity of 68.9 miles per hour.  The total time in air was four hours and twenty-two minutes.

Minor repairs were made March 29, 1913, and it was intended to start back March 30, when weather conditions were unusually good, but the preliminary trial flight demonstrated the [[incomplete]]

[[?]] are forests with cultivated areas interspersed.  The country becomes rolling just east of San Antonio.  On both trips extremely rough air was encountered over the forested country.  On the return trip the temperature was very high and a great deal of difficulty was experienced with up and down trends.  The latter predominated, and, combined with the gusts, made climbing very difficult.  The machine was dropped, on one occasion, about six hundred feet, and it was frequently necessary to drive it fifty to one hundred feet, when one wing dropped, to gain equilibrium.  From Columbus to Bernard the gusts were moderate, but increased in strength there, and continued until we were ten miles of the coast, where they again moderated.  Some of the severest gusts occurred over the country that was absolutely flat, and following a period of comparative calm.  It is believed that these were due to the action of the sun on the moist ground below, as they were particularly noticeable in the vicinity of marshy lands.  One gust was so strong as to tear away the right accessory plane between the main planes.  It struck the upper plane, slightly tearing the cloth, but as its chief function is the prevention of skidding, this interfered in no way with the control of the machine. 

Third–On the return trip Lieutenant Sherman carried a cavalry sketching case for notes and sketches. A rough sketch was attempted.  For orientation, the board was held parallel to the sides of the fusilage and the compass bearing of the machine noted.  A time scale was used.  It is believed that after some experience a sketch can be made by this method of sufficient accuracy to fulfill the requirements of a strategic reconnaissance, and locate the larger units of the enemy.  This is particularly the case where it may afterward be compared with and corrected by a smaller scale map. The sketch made is sent herewith without any attempt at connecting it up.

Fourth–The return trip demonstrated anew the necessity for having excess power.  Our specifications seem severe and would insure sufficient power under ideal weather conditions.  But with a heavily-laden machine and rough weather-the condition we normally find in war-the present excess of power is insufficient.  Though constantly endeavoring to climb, so much power was used up in fighting gusts and down trends that an altitude of 1,500 feet was not gotten until practically the end of the trip.  It is recommended that steps be taken to change our specifications with a view to securing greater excess power.

Fifth–Too much emphasis cannot be laid on the necessity for great strength in construction.  In some of the severe gusts and dives to recover equilibrium, stresses were put on the machine many times the ordinary stresses of flying.  It is doubtful if a less staunchly-built machine would have held together for the trip.

Sixth–The fusilage type with tractor is believed to be the most desirable.  It interfered in no way with the view either of pilot or observer, and the centrally located weight aided materially in recovering lateral equilibrium.  With the weight more distributed laterally, it would have been more difficult to recover.  The position of the pilot's seat, which gave a view of the entire plane, was found to be decided advantage in gusty weather.

Seventh–On the first trip 42 gallons of gas and 3 1-8 gallons of oil were taken.  All but one quart of the gas was consumed.  On the return trip [[incomplete]]

[[?commanding general Second Division, Texas City, Tex.

Attention is invited to the fact that in making this trip these officers have established a new American endurance record for pilot and one passenger, and a new American distance record for pilot and one passenger.  The world's distance record for pilot and one passenger is 249.4 miles, made in a measured course over Salisbury Plain, England.  These officers flew 224 miles cross-country and then remained in the air another hour, so that they undoubtedly exceeded the world's record for total distance covered.  The world's endurance record is four hours and thirty-four minutes, only twelve minutes more than the record made by Lieutenants Milling and Sherman.

This would have been considered a remarkable performance under the most favorable conditions, but when the barograph record is examined and the fact that the trip was made over unknown country is taken into consideration, this performance must be acknowledged as a most remarkable demonstration of courage and skill in handling aeronautical craft. 

The map made by Lieutenant Sherman, while crude, really countains much information that would be of military value.  As a first effort it shows that this method of securing information has many possibilities. 
The military value of being able to fly over unknown country for several hours at a time, covering hundreds of miles, must be obvious to anyone in the military service.

A. S. COWAN, Captain, Signal Corps. Second Ind. Headquarters Second Division, Texas City, Tex., April 4, 1913. To the A. G. O.

This flight was made under such weather conditions that I would not have ordered the trip.  The results were most creditable and show Lieutenant Milling to have become one of the foremost aviators of the world.

Major General Commanding.

The foregoing is the official copy clipped from Army and Navy Journal. 

In making the sketch of the country passed over Lieutenant Sherman used a time scale.  Knowing the speed of the Burgess tractor in calm weather it was only necessary to add or deduct for the rate the wind was blowing.  The observer's seat is just in front of the pilot's.

The possibilities of photography as a means of gathering information about the country are great.  The pictures taken by Lieutenant Ellington, Lieutenant Roy C. Kirkland. Fourteenth Infantry, piloting the machine, give an idea of the way roads, villages, farm horses, railroads, etc., show up in a photograph.  By taking these photographs at regular intervals, say about every five miles, and putting them together in order, Lieutenant Ellington has shown that an excellent idea of the country represented can be had.  On the day these pictures were taken Lieutenants Kirkland and Ellington were in the air 46 minutes and actually covered thirty-five miles of country, but of course reconnoitered to a much greater distance, for they could see several miles beyond where they actually went.  By using these photographs in connection with maps a complete picture of the terrain can be spread out before the commanding general.

Since coming to Texas City the First Aero Squadron has qualified Captain F. B. Hennessy, Third Field Artillery; Lieutenants L. H. Call, Coast Artillery Corps; Erie L. Ellington, Third Cavalry, and Lieutenant Sherman as fliers. Lieutenant Milling is chief instructor
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