|Born||28 Jun 1891|
|Died||14 Jul 1974|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseCarl Andrew Spaatz was born in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1914. He was assigned to military aviation in Oct 1915. During the expedition to Mexico in 1916 he served in the First Aero Squadron under General John Pershing. Spaatz was promoted to First Lieutenant in July 1916 and to Captain in May 1917. During WW1, he served as the squadron commander of the 31st Aero Squadron and also spent time as the commander of the American Aviation School at Issoudun, France. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for WW1. He was promoted to major in Jul 1920.
ww2dbaseDuring the inter-war years, Spaatz served as commander of various posts and completed the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1935.
ww2dbaseAt the start of WW2 in Europe, Spaatz was sent to observe the Battle of Britain. In Oct 1940 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and appointed assistant to the Chief of the Air Corps. One year later, when the United States entered the war after Pearl Harbor, he became the Chief of the Army Air Forces Combat Command with the war time rank of major general. In May 1942, he was named the commander of the Eighth Air Force and then his responsibility grew to cover all US Army Air Forces in Europe; in this role he became a critical component of Dwight Eisenhower's campaign in North Africa and Sicily. In Mar 1945, he was promoted to the rank of general, and in Jul of the same year he was given responsibility over all US Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific with headquarters in Guam. Eisenhower, after the war, commented that Spaatz was one of the most talented and valuable leaders in the European Theater of Operations in WW2.
ww2dbaseAt the end of the war, Spaatz was present at three important surrendering events: the German surrender to the western Allies at Reims, the German surrender to the Russians at Berlin, and the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. He was the only general present at all three surrenders.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, President Harry Truman nominated Spaatz to the permanent rank of major general; with this promotion, he was appointed the commanding general of the Army Air Forces (Feb 1946). In Sep 1947, he became the first Chief of Staff of United States' newly created independent Air Force. He retired from the military in Jun 1948 and passed away in 1974. He rests in peace at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Last Major Revision: Jan 2006
Carl Spaatz Timeline
|28 Jun 1891||Carl Spaatz was born.|
|5 Jan 1942||Major General Carl Spaatz assumed command of the USAAF Fifth Air Force, which would be renumbered Eighth Air Force on the following day. Spaatz established his headquarters at Bolling Field, Washington DC, United States.|
|5 May 1942||USAAF Fifth Air Force, under the command of Major General Carl Spaatz and based at Bolling Field, Washington DC, United States, was renumbered as Eighth Air Force.|
|5 Jan 1943||General Carl A. Spaatz relinquished his post as commander of the US 8th Air Force on his transfer to the Mediterranean Theatre. He was replaced by Major General Ira C. Eaker.|
|18 Feb 1943||The Northwest African Air Forces (NWAAF) commanded by Major General Carl A. Spaatz came into existence under the Allied Mediterranean Air Command.|
|8 Dec 1943||US Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz was appointed Chief of US Strategic Air Forces in Europe.|
|16 Jul 1945||General Carl Spaatz became the commanding officer of the US Army Strategic Air Forces based at Guam, Mariana Islands.|
|18 Jul 1945||The headquarters of the US Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific was established on Guam, Mariana Islands under General Carl Spaatz.|
|14 Jul 1974||Carl Spaatz passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945