William Mitchell Trial Scrapbooks

An active participant in American military aviation since its beginnings, Colonel William L. "Billy" Mitchell (1879-1936) was closely involved in shaping air policy and air defense strategy in the 1920s. Mitchell publically criticized the Navy and War Departments in the wake of the crash of the U.S. Navy rigid airship "Shenandoah" on September 3, 1925. His actions resulted in a court-martial held from October – December 1925 for insubordination and "Conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the military service." Mitchell was found guilty and was sentenced to "Suspension from rank, command, and duty with forfeiture of all pay and allowances for five years." Mitchell resigned from the Army on February 1, 1926. He remained a public voice for air power until his death on February 19, 1936. In 2003, Congress voted to posthumously commission William L. Mitchell as a major general in the Army.