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The June name-change of the Strategical Aviation branch to the General Headquarters (ghq) Air Service Reserve reflected this continuing concern. By the summer of 1918 Gorrell’s scheme for a massive Amer28 g e n e s i s i n t h e g r e at wa r ican air offensive had atrophied. Colonel Monell had, in Gorrell’s words, worked on developing a strategic air force for only “a month or so,”70 and Major Fowler left Air Service headquarters to command the American air units operating with the British. Discouraged by production deficiencies and convinced that an American strategic bombing campaign would never materialize, Wing Commander Grey returned to a British assignment.
Ryan, who had succeeded Howard Coffin as chief of Aircraft Production, as Second Assistant Secretary of War and Director of Air Service. Yet for Mitchell these steps were not enough. As his cry became increasingly shrill, it welded the bond between air power’s independent application and service autonomy until the link was impossible to break. In October 1918, the twenty-seven-year-old Gorrell became the youngest American colonel since the Civil War. He served as Assistant Chief of the Air Service until the Armistice, and then began writing the Air Service’s combat history.
50 Gorrell submitted his plan on 28 November to Brigadier General Benjamin Foulois, who had become Chief of the aef Air Service the previous day. The two had served together as pilots in the First Aero Squadron during the Mexican punitive expedition and knew each other well. Like Mitchell, Foulois had changed his attitude on the value of independent air operations since his 1913 testimony that Army aviation belonged under Signal Corps’ control. He approved Gorrell’s plan in December and sent it to General Pershing for his endorsement.