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The airplane emerged from World War I recognized widely for its potential as a military weapon. In the United States, Army pilots and Navy and Marine aviators worked to realize their different visions of the airplane’s ultimate role in American defense.
These advocates faced institutional resistance and meager budgets. They also faced the danger of pushing the capabilities of a rapidly developing technology during regular operations, combat in foreign lands, and public flights that presented their visions to everyday Americans. Innovations in doctrine, organization, and technology resulted in the air forces that would fight World War II on a global scale.
The Museum’s collection of 1920s and 1930s military aircraft contains many one-of-a-kind and sole-surviving aircraft.