First Naval Aviator Training 1910

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Secretary of the Navy, George von Lengerke Meyer (1909-1913)

On 29 November 1910, Glenn H. Curtiss wrote to the Secretary of the Navy under President Taft, the Honorable George von Lengerke Meyer. In his letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Curtiss offered to train one naval officer as a pilot for no charge, in order to develop “the adaptability of the aeroplane to military purposes.”

Glenn Curtiss at the controls of one of his early aeroplanes.

Less than one month later on 23 December, Lieutenant Theodore G. Ellyson would receive orders to report to the Glenn Curtiss Aviation camp at North Island, San Diego. Later the facilities at North Island would become Naval Air Station North Island, and it is known as the birthplace of naval aviation due to Ellyson’s successful training here. Interestingly, the first Japanese naval aviators were also trained here by Curtiss and Lieutenant Chuji Yamada would return to Japan to organize the Imperial Navy’s aviation striking arm.

Lt. Ellyson training at North Island.

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