Alexander Procofieff De Seversky

Alexander Procofieff De Seversky

Birth
Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia
Death 24 Aug 1974 (aged 80)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 7008364 · View Source
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Aviation Pioneer, Inventor. He is best remembered as an air power advocate who helped to shape the course of US military aviation during World War II. Born Alexander Nikolaievich Prokofiev de Seversky of noble Russian parentage, he entered a Russian military school at the age of ten. In 1908 he was accepted by the Imperial Russian Naval Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, graduating with an engineering degree in 1914, and was serving in a destroyer flotilla when World War I began in July of that year. He was then chosen to train as a naval aviator and attended the Military School of Aeronautics at Sebastopol, Crimeria, Russia. Upon graduation in the summer of 1915, he became a lieutenant and was assigned to an aviation unit in the Baltic Fleet and on his first combat mission, he was shot down and he lost one of his legs in the ensuing crash and explosion. Fitted with an artificial leg, he was declared unfit to fly until Tsar Nicholas II personally intervened and in July 1916 he returned to combat duty and quickly shot down his first enemy aircraft. He would go on to fly 57 combat missions, shot down a confirmed six enemy aircraft and was awarded the Order of St. George (4th class), the Order of St. Vladimir (4th class), the Order of St. Stanislaus (2nd and 3rd class), and the Order of St. Anne (2nd, 3rd, and 4th class). In the 1917 Russian Revolution, he was stationed in St. Petersburg and the following March he became an assistant naval attaché in the Russian Naval Aviation Mission to the US and decided not to return to Russia. He offered his services to the US War Department as Chief of the Signal Corps General Kenly and became a test pilot with the Buffalo, New York District of aircraft production. He then became an assistant to US Army General Billy Mitchell and received the first patent for air-to-air refueling in 1921, one of many inventions that he patented, including the first gyroscopically stabilized bombsight. In 1923 he founded the Seversky Aero Corporation, and in 1928 he was commissioned as a major the US Army Air Corps Reserve. His corporation did not survive the 1929 stock market crash; however, two years later he received additional financial support and reopened his business as the Seversky Aircraft Corporation in Long Island, New York and soon designed and built the SEV-3, an all-metal, multi-place monoplane amphibian aircraft the set numerous speed records. Other aircraft were manufactured, including the SEV-S2, that won three consecutive Bendix Trophy air races beginning in 1937. In 1939 he received the Harmon Trophy for his contributions to aviation. That same year, his corporation was reorganized and renamed the Republic Aviation Corporation and he was voted out of the company. The new corporation soon began turning out military aircraft, including the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, as World War II approached. Following the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii he wrote "Victory Through Air Power" (1942) that advocated the strategic use of Air bombardment, and it became a number 1 best seller on the New York Times which was adapted into an animated motion picture by Walt Disney Studios in 1943. In 1945 he received the Medal of Merit from US President Harry S. Truman for his work on air power and in 1969 he was awarded the Exceptional Service Medal for his contributions as a special consultant to the US Air Force Chiefs of Staff. The following year he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He was a co-founder and trustee of the New York Institute of Technology in New York City, New York. His other writings include "Air Power: Key to Survival" (1950) and "America: Too Young to Die!" (1961). He died at the age of 80.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Garver Graver
  • Added: 12 Dec 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7008364
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alexander Procofieff De Seversky (7 Jun 1894–24 Aug 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7008364, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .