Benjamin Delahauf Foulois
(1879 - 1967)
Benjamin "Benny" Delahauf Foulois was born in Washington, Connecticut on December 9, 1879. He enlisted in the Army Engineers in 1898 and served as an infantryman in the Philippines where he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
In 1906, Foulois became interested in flying. He received flying instructions by mail from the Wright brothers, who invented the first airplanes! He flew once with Orville Wright and soloed on March 2, 1910, but crashed upon landing. Uninjured, he flew a week later. At Fort Sam in Houston, Texas along with eight other pilots and the Military Aircraft No."1", he established the Army "Air Force".
In 1915, as a captain, Foulois commanded the 1st Aero Squadron in General Pershing's Mexican expedition, searching for the infamous Pancho Villa. With the temporary task of Brigadier General, Foulois was sent to France in 1918 to become the Chief of Air Service for the American Expeditionary Force. He led the first all-American squadrons in dogfights with the Germans.
Foulois became Assistant Chief of the Army Air Corps in 1927. He became Chief and Major General in 1931. Upon retiring in 1935, he became a speaker for the Air Force. General Foulois traveled thousands of miles "to preach the gospel of air power". He brought the history of powered flight to life for all who would listen. In his book of memoirs;FROM THE WRIGHT BROTHERS TO THE ASTRONAUTS, the General says:
"...My lifetime has spanned the entire history of powered flight. I have seen an airplane grow from a primitive bundle of wire, fabric, and wood to an instrument of national power. I am proud to have been part of the organization that has done more to bring order to the United States Air Force...the one achievement I want to be remembered for is the establishment of the "can-do" spirit that has become traditional among our American airmen".
On April 25, 1967, Benjamin Delahauf Foulois died at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at the age of 87. The Air Force lost their "last of the first", who had done more to make it a power for peace than any other individual.
We at Benjamin D. Foulois Elementary School are honored to be at the school that bears his name. We will strive to always have the "can-do" spirit that "Benny" inspired in all.