Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold

Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold

Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 15 Jan 1950 (aged 63)
Sonoma, Sonoma County, California, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 34, Grave 44-A
Memorial ID 38 · View Source
Suggest Edits

United States Army, Air Force General. He was a member of the United States Military Academy Class of 1907. While at West Point, he had been given the nickname "Hap" because of his cheerful disposition. In 1911 he was assigned to the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps. Thereafter, his name would be synonymous with flying. It was during that year that he completed flight training with Orville and Wilbur Wright. He became only the 29th pilot to be licensed in the United States. His career was highlighted by one first after another. In September 1911, he carried the first United States air shipments; on June 1, 1912, he attained the record altitude of 6,540 feet; and in October 1912, he won aviation's first MacKay Trophy for a 30-mile round-trip flight from College Park, Maryland, to Fort Myer, Virginia. He also was part of the group of pilots that pioneered air refueling techniques, as well as airborne patrolling of forest fires. On July 6, 1924, he established a new speed record of 113 miles per hour between Rockwell, California and San Francisco, and in 1934, he received a second coveted MacKay Trophy for outstanding achievement in flying; this time for commanding ten bombers on a round-trip flight from Washington D.C., to Fairbanks, Alaska. During World War I, he was appointed head of the Army's Aviation Training School. By 1938, he had rose to Major General, Chief of the Army Air Corps. By the time the United States entered World War II, the production of the aircraft industry had increased sixfold, due primarily to his influence and leadership. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1941, and was commissioned as aviation's first full General in 1943. He was recognized by President Harry S. Truman on December 21, 1945, with a promotion to the rank of five-star General of the Army. It was largely through his efforts that the United States Air Force became a separate branch of military service. In fact, his role in transforming the old Army Air Corps into a modern air force won him the unofficial title of "Father of the United States Air Force." He retired to his farm in Sonoma, California, in March 1946. However, in 1949 in recognition of his unequaled contribution to the United States' flying forces, he was commissioned General of the Air Force, the first such commission ever given, and one which made him the only person in American military history to attain that rank in both the Army and Air Force. He published his autobiography, Global Mission, in 1949, and died on his Sonoma ranch in 1950. As he had always considered himself "just a regular Joe," in his will he requested that his grave be marked by a simple regulation headstone. A visit to his grave is often requested by many visiting dignitaries. They are always surprised and moved to see that the grave of such an aviation pioneer is so simply marked.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway

Family Members




How famous was Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold?

Current rating:

192 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 38
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold (25 Jun 1886–15 Jan 1950), Find a Grave Memorial no. 38, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .