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    Description

    William Mitchell Two Typed Letters Signed to Major Lester D. Gardner. The first letter (one page, 6.75" x 9.5") is written from France and is dated November 17, 1918: "I asked for you so many times and I should have thought some of the requests would have had some effect, but apparently no. The war is now over as far as we are concerned and I am very sorry that you haven't gotten here. Perhaps some people will be needed in the reorganization work, who have had some service on the front, and in that case some of us may come home before long. Yours Sincerely, Wm Mitchell."

    A second letter (one page, 7.25" x 7.75") written from London, February 2, 1919, is thanking him for his Christmas greeting. Mitchell was in London working on Aviation matters.

    Group also includes a letter from Arthur Brisbane (One page, 8" x 9.25", December 23, 1924) to Gardner in regards to Mitchell's statement to the Congressional Committee about the testing of sinking battleships, in part: "The $10,000 test I am afraid would not be practical, for this reason. You couldn't get anybody to provide the battleships to be sunk...Could not some test be made to sink something as diffiult [sic] to sink as a battleship? but not necessarily making the target as expensive as a battleship?"

    Lastly, a retained carbon of a letter from Gardner to Brisbane (two pages, 8" x 10.5", Washington, December 26, 1924) regarding the battleship tests and discussing the misuse of funds in the Aviation department.

    World War I Ace pilot Billy Mitchell would become an outspoken critic of the Departments of War and the Navy after the war ended. With the aid of Lester Gardner, Mitchell opposed the downscaling of the United States' aviation program, instead advocating for the creation of a dedicated air force. It was Mitchell's belief that money spent on building dreadnoughts would be better used in developing military aviation, which could defend the coasts more efficiently. The tests referenced to in these letters were part of Mitchell's plan to promote the efficiency of his program. Unfortunately, his claims made him numerous enemies within the Navy. Ultimately, his disputes with the Navy earned him a court martial and resulted in his eventual resignation from the service in 1926. From the Estate of Malcolm S. Forbes.

    Condition: All letters have usual mail folds, some areas of light soiling. 1919 letter has mounting remnants on verso. All signatures are clear and bold.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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