West Point Graduates and the United States Air Force

Shaping American Aerospace Power


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About the Book

West Point graduates played a central role in developing U.S. military air and space power from the earliest days of mechanized flight through the establishment of the U.S. Air Force in 1947, and continuing through the Persian Gulf War. These graduates served at a time when the world’s greatest wave of technological advancement occurred: in aviation, nuclear weapons, rocketry, ICBMs, computers, satellite systems in inner space and man in outer space.
This history traces the advancement of weapons and space technology that became the hallmark of the U.S. Air Force, and the pivotal role that West Point graduates played in integrating them into a wide variety of Air Force systems and programs. Many became aircraft commanders, test pilots, astronauts and, later in their careers, general officers who helped shape and implement technologies still in use today.

About the Author(s)

Charles F.G. Kuyk, Jr., is a veteran of 36 years of military service, from Private to Major General. He served with the Marines in World War II, as a B-29 combat pilot in Korea, a nuclear bomber pilot during the Cold War, an experimental test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, a commander and pilot of an EB-66 electronic counter measures (ECM) squadron during the Vietnam War, commander of the C-5 Wing during the airlift support of the Arab-Israeli war, Commander of the numbered Air Force for the western half of the world and as a general officer at the Pentagon defining future Air Force requirements.
Charles F.G. Kuyk III is a former ICBM and project control officer with the U.S. Air Force, and a retired forensic accountant. He served at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming as an ICBM Deputy Commander and later as a project control officer at the Space and Missile Systems Organization in El Segundo, California.

Bibliographic Details

Charles F.G. Kuyk, Jr., with Charles F.G. Kuyk III

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8094-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3938-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Richard P. Hallion 1
Preface by Charles F.G. Kuyk, Jr. 5
Abbreviations 11
1. The Early Years of U.S. Army Aviation (1903–47) 15
2. Path to Independence 34
3. The Class of 1950 47
4. Cultural Transitions 66
5. Focus on Advancing Technology 77
6. Flight Tests and Test Pilots 109
7. Aerial Reconnaissance 130
8. Military Airlift 145
9. ICBMs 161
10. Space 176
11. U.S. Air Force Academy 197
12. Leadership 217
Epilogue 226
Chronology of Key Events 229
Chapter Notes 255
Bibliography 265
Index 271

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This book fills an important niche by tracing the history and importance of West Point in the evolution of the US Air Force. That importance was enormous. The West Point ethos and shared experiences shaped the air arm that we have today. Excellent work.”—Phillip S. Meilinger, Col, USAF (Ret.)

• “From Hap Arnold thru Robin Olds, Charlie Gabriel, Jerry O’Malley and many more officers from all ranks and branches of the Air Force, West Point graduates and their vision and values shaped the air arm of the United States from it’s very beginning.”—Ronald R. Fogleman, Air Force Chief of Staff (Ret.)