Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz

By David R. Mets | Go to book overview
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Chapter I

The summer of 1974 will long remain etched in the memories of Americans who experienced it. Abroad, the United States was approaching the climax of a two-decade involvement in Vietnam. The front page of the Washington Post for July 14, 1974, was covered with crises. One column told of two desperadoes who were holding hostages in a District courthouse, demanding an airplane to flee the country. Another described the contempt findings against a police strike in Baltimore. The lead story reported: "Culminating 18 months of investigation and hearings that constituted the most intensive congressional inquiry into alleged White House corruption in American history, a unanimous Senate select Watergate committee called for major reforms to prevent a recurrence of the Watergate affair."

That July 14th also was the day this country lost a great man, Gen. Carl Andrew Spaatz, graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, air pioneer, outstanding operational commander in World War II, and first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He died at the Army's Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

A memorial service, conducted by a longtime friend, Chaplain Charles Carpenter, was held for him in the chapel at nearby Andrews Air Force Base. After the service, the casket and the funeral party of family and pallbearers were flown to Colorado by Air Force jet, and General Spaatz was laid to rest in the Air Force Academy cemetery.

The youngest children in the party had not known their grandfather


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