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Billy Mitchell


Brigadier General William L. ‘‘Billy’’ Mitchell (December 28, 1879–February 19, 1936) was chief of the Army Air Service in 1921. He eagerly expanded the role of airplanes in the military. The decision to commit U.S. Army troops to end the 1921 Miners’ March on Logan afforded him an opportunity to demonstrate that the planes could provide tactical information in rugged, mountainous terrain and be useful in quelling civil disturbances. Arriving in Charleston on August 26, Mitchell ordered the 88th Squadron, part of the 1st Provisional Air Brigade, to southern West Virginia to take part in ending the fighting then going on between miners and operators on the border of Logan County. The planes, which have remained a controversial part of the story of the West Virginia Mine Wars, were used for reconnaissance and did not exercise force against the combatants.

Written by Kenneth R. Bailey


  1. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. New York: James T. White & Co., 1937.

  2. Maurer, Maurer & Calvin F. Senning. Billy Mitchell, the Air Service and the Mingo War. West Virginia History, (Oct. 1968).