During the 1920s and 1930s, U.S. Army pilots and Navy and Marine aviators engaged in air racing, record-breaking flights, war games, and other public demonstrations of the airplane. Their bloodless air campaigns served as aerial proving grounds for aeronautical technology and tested the organizations and infrastructure needed to support military aviation. These activities promoted "military air-mindedness" to garner the support of the American public.
Military flyers achieved many aviation firsts: the first transatlantic flight, the first nonstop transcontinental flight, the first flight around the world. Some smashed air-racing records. Others reached the stratosphere in balloons. Many, including Jimmy Doolittle, became household names.
African Americans took a keen interest in flying during those decades as well. Despite racial barriers, many black pioneers managed to gain entry into the world of aviation. Flying in segregated units during World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen earned recognition and respect for their combat service in Europe.